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EN LOS MARGENES (2022, ŠPA) – 7/10

Argentinian-Spanish actor Juan Diego Botto presented himself as a socially engaged filmmaker with the drama premiered in the Horizonti section of the Venice festival. His poignant drama about multiple human destinies that will intertwine over the course of one day addresses the issue of evictions and expulsions from houses and apartments. in Spain people who can no longer repay their debts. At the very end of “En los margenes” or “On the Fringe”, Botto points out that 41,000 evictions take place annually in Spain, or more than a hundred of them per day. Azucena (Penelope Cruz is one of the producers of the film) also found herself in a situation where she would soon fly out and live in an apartment.

After her husband Manuel (Botto) lost his job, they could no longer pay the loan installments and now the day has come to throw them out on the street. And while Azucena participates in protests against banks and is active in organizations that take care of people who have experienced a similar fate, Manuel feels guilty for what they are going through, but he will tell Germano, a day laborer colleague, because he does not answer his mother. However, the central character of the film is Rafa (Luis Tosar), a human rights lawyer who has decided to devote his life to helping vulnerable groups. As is often the case, Rafa is so dedicated to his work and saving other people that he usually forgets about his family members.

That’s how the film actually starts when he takes his late stepson Raul on a school trip, so at first the grumpy teenager will have to spend the day with his stepfather. And to see what he actually does while flying around the city and trying to solve the problems of marginalized people such as the illegal worker from Morocco who doesn’t even know that the social service just picked up her daughter. And the stories of all these people slowly intertwine and we realize that they are all connected in some way, and Botto shot a dynamic social drama that seems naturalistic, authentic, real, which is partly contributed by the hand-held camera. It’s an emotional drama whose action takes place over the course of one day, but that’s enough to understand how the water came up to many people’s throats and to wonder how many people are actually experiencing a similar fate.

We see how penury, debts, the danger of being homeless at any moment affects families, and Botto solidly interweaves all these stories. Even somewhat in the footsteps of the legendary English grandmaster of social drama Ken Loach and it doesn’t seem exploitative because the dramaturgical story is well rounded. “En los margenes” was a completely correct humanist drama in which the characters act as real people with flaws and problems, but who have the strength to fight and do not want to give in to apathy.