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Blame It on the King

Produced by Pedro Costa, Enrique Cerezo.

Produced by Pedro Costa, Enrique Cerezo.

Directed by Jose Antonio Quiros. Screenplay, Quiros, Alicia Luna, Clara Perez Escriva, Pedro Costa. Camera (color), Julio Madurga; editor, Fernando Pardo; music, Juan Carlos Cuello; art director, Ion Arretxe. Reviewed at Cine Princesa, Madrid, Feb. 7, 2000. Original title: Pidele cuentas al rey. Running time: 94 MIN.

With: Antonio Resines, Adriana Ozores, Jesus Bonilla, Manuel Alexandre, Manuel Manquina, Nicolas Fernandez Luna.

An engaging, low-key comedy about the decline of the mining community in northern Spain, Jose Antonio Quiros’ feature debut, “Blame It on the King,” is full of solid virtues — a feel-good storyline, fine perfs and worthy social aims — which never quite elevate it above the ordinary. Offshore prospects look slim for a worthy, well-intentioned pic that lacks spark.

After an Asturian mine is closed following an accident, story homes in on Fidel (Antonio Resines), who recalls the Spanish Constitution’s promise that every Spaniard is entitled to a job. Amid abuse from most of his colleagues and with the support of his wife Lina’s (Adriana Ozores) ailing father, ex-miner Pepon (Manuel Alexandre), Fidel decides to walk the 600 kilometers to Madrid to ask the king himself for a job. The discomforts of life on the road are well drawn and dialogue is good, but pic suffers from the fact that, dramatically speaking, it asks only one question — will our hero arrive? The dependable Resines plays a character who’s too good to be true, especially when he starts fighting for the rights of an illegal immigrant en route.

Blame It on the King

(SPAIN)

Production: An Alta Films release of a Pedro Costa PC/Enrique Cerezo PC production, in association with Canal Plus, TVE. (International sales: Pedro Costa, Madrid.)

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