One Careful Owner (15)       Edinburgh Spanish Film Festival

Seville is the setting for this light hearted comedy that has intergenerational sorority at its heart.

Sara (Juana Acosta) is a beautiful woman in her late thirties and a high flyer in an insurance company, who casts a calculating eye over her work and her life. Her tightly pulled back hair is highly symbolic of her rather conservative, buttoned up outlook.  

We find her being shown round an apartment overlooking the Guadalquivir river with a clear view of la Giralda by the bumbling agent (Carlos Areces), who turns up in various other equally hapless roles across the film. The prestigious property is going at a bargain price because it comes with an unusual condition. The apartment can’t be owned outright until its present owner, Lola, aka the inconvenience, (Kiti Mánver), a 74 year old divorced woman who practically lives in her dressing gown, dies.

So why is this successful young woman who shares a state of the art minimalist apartment with her handsome partner Daniel (Daniel Grao) considering owning a place that’s full of the knickknacks and memories of someone else’s life? Turns out her motives have an eye to the future as she’s not sure if her 8 year relationship will last much longer. And so begins the unlikely friendship between two very different women who find a sweet spot where their opposing outlooks come to a mutual understanding and even a kind of love.

Both Juana Acosta and Kiti Mánver bring great qualities to their respective roles of the bourgeois Sara, whose hair symbolically loosens as film progresses, and the unconventional fag and joint smoking Lola, as they each face illness, change and compromise. Things may have tipped in to schmaltzy mode with the unexpected snow scene but that apart, director Bernabé Rico’s film, with the strong message that we “…make the most of time”,  manages  a gently humorous take on serious issues that can affect women at any age. Some pleasing shots of Seville’s wide Guadalquivir river between scenes add to the film’s enjoyment.

As Lola says before the pair prepare to face new lives, “Siempre ahora”. 

One Careful Owner, whose Spanish title is el Inconveniente, has won Best Film Audience Award, and was nominated for Best Directorial Debut, at this year’s Malaga Spanish Film Festival.

Showing at Filmhouse Sunday 10th October and available online from 14th – 17th October.

Irene Brown