A drama that pulls off the extraordinary achievement of turning the issue of Basque terrorism into anodyne product, “My Father’s House” strings cliches together into a broken family meller that has little wrong with it.

A drama that pulls off the extraordinary achievement of turning the issue of Basque terrorism into anodyne product, “My Father’s House” strings cliches together into a broken-family meller that has little wrong with it. The problem is that what’s right with it has been featured in a thousand TV serials. Cast is calculated to appeal at home, which should ensure a decent showing in Spain, but, though pic could conceivably function as a primer to the Basque Country’s problems, offshore interest will be limited.

Txomin (Carmelo Gomez) returns to the Basque Country from exile in Argentina with wife Blanca (Emma Suarez) and daughter Sara (Veronica Echegui, Spain’s latest golden girl, here delivering an OK River Plate accent). Txomin’s dying brother asks him to look after his son, pro-Basque political activist Gaizka (Juan Jose Ballesta). With their parents on different sides of the political divide, Gaizka and Sara start to fall for one another. Plot is efficient but uninspiring, though pic is good on the edgy reality of living in this politically uptight region. Gomez and Echegui eke some interest out of their stereotypes, while Ballesta is merely flat.

My Father's House

Spain

Production

A Monfort, Videntia Frames, Media Films production, with the participation of TVE, EITB. (International sales: Filmax Intl., Barcelona, Spain.) Produced by Iker Monfort. Directed by Gorka Merchan. Screenplay, Inaki Mendiguren.

Crew

Camera (color), Aitor Mantxola; art director, Mario Suances. Reviewed at San Sebastian Film Festival (Basque Cinema Day), Sept. 24, 2008. Running time: 85 MIN.

With

Carmelo Gomez, Veronica Echegui, Juan Jose Ballesta, Emma Suarez, Alex Angulo.
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