Cleveland International Film Festival } March 22 – April 1, 2023 } Playhouse Square


Year: 1998
Country: Spain
Run Time: 90 minutes

Like neon pearls around the nape of the night, Ventura Pons strings an interlinked series of the vignettes of lovers, liars, husbands, and thieves. We've seen the circular romantic narrative of "La Ronde" redone and modernized often on film, as in "Chain of Desire" (17th CIFF, 1993), but never quite in the way CARESSES delineates the geometry of relationships. Take a walk on the twilight side of Barcelona, over two eventful evenings and thorugh the lives of eleven people from different social classes, ages, and sexes. There are a lot less than six degrees of alienation separating the ragpicker in the gutter from a chic ex-mistress at the train station; or the gay hustler in the slums from a rejectd old woman resigned to spending the rest of her days in a retirment home. For it is not love that defines these city-dwellers' ironic connections to each other, but rather loss, antagonism or, at best, exploitation . . . at least until the finale, a touching (literally) rediscovery of basic compasion. CARESSES may or may not be the perfect date movie, but we challenge you to look at strangers in the auditorium beside you and wonder how many steps, how many 'caresses,' can be numbered between them and yourself. (In Spanish with English subtitles)

Ventura Pons, Sergi Belbel (based on the play by Sergi Belbel)

Ventura Pons

Ventura Pons

Jesus Escosa

Pere Abadal

Principal Cast
Rosa Maria Sarda, Marce Pons, Jordi Dauder, Laura Conejero, Montserrat Salvador, Sergi Lopez

Film Contact
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