El Bola (2000)
Directed by Achero Maas
Starring Juan Jos Ballesta, Pablo Galn
This film is reminiscent of Truffauts 400 Blows in that were seeing life from the perspective of a young boy who to put it mildly is not treated lovingly by his father.
El Bola is the nickname of 12 year old Pablo, we first see him and several mates playing chicken in front of a train, this game is repeated several times throughout the film, each time youre sure that one of the boys will be hit.
The story proper starts with the arrival of a new pupil in school, Alfredo. Pablo (El Bola) attaches himself to him and they soon become good friends much to the irritation of Pablos father who is a bullying control freak who literally kicks hell out of his son for the slightest reason. Pablo (as would be natural in most cases of this type) doesnt tell anyone about the beatings and excuses marks and bruises on him as accidents and falls.
Alfredos parents, who happen to be the antithesis of Pablos worry when Alfredo tells them about the bruising he has seen but theres virtually nothing they can do in the matter due to the law. Things take a brutal turn leading to Pablo running away and eventually informing the social services about his father.
There is no closure to the story which is a good thing, it allows you to reach your own decisions on the fate of Pablo and his family. Its not a film with a great deal of originality but its well made, effective in giving a voice to children who grow up in this sort of brutal environment and definitely worth seeing.
BBFC rated 15.