Federico Luppi’s first “Steps” as a helmer are more faltering than expected from a thesp with a lengthy pedigree in politico cinema. A supposedly mature, reflective study of three couples struggling to retain their ideological principles in the aftermath of the failed 1981 military coup in Spain, well-meaning pic largely falls flat thanks to an uninspiring, repetitive script, pacing problems and lack of dramatic focus. “Steps” is unlikely to leave many traces beyond occasional fest appearances.
Left-winger Silvia (Ana Fernandez) and architect hubby Jose (Alberto Jimenez), carpenter Francisco (Gines Garcia Millan) and simple-minded wife Ana (scripter Susana Hornos), plus architect Javier (rodent-featured Argentine actor Fabian Vena) and wife Beatriz (Eva Cobo), decide to meet up every month to celebrate the coup’s failure. They all seem to hate each other, and the first of several excruciating bickering sessions finishes with Silvia and Jose declaring they’ll divorce as soon as the law changes, a decision that infuriates religious Javier. Pic quickly morphs into an unsubtle couples drama, alleviated only by a couple of nicely-staged comedy scenes. Fernandez and Cobo give it their best shot but their roles are little more than ciphers.