Nanny Dearest | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Nanny Dearest


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A half century after the onset of the Spanish civil war, Jose Luis Borau (Poachers) takes a wry look at the way different generations view politics and history, as the children of Franco's era try to cope with a changing Spain. After a fascist general dies, his sexually repressed daughter (Carmen Maura) leaves the convent where she's been living to return to Madrid and pay her respects, accompanied by the family's beloved nanny (Imperio Argentina, a Spanish comedy star of the 1930s). Much of this 1986 comedy takes place in the family mansion, where the daughter finds her father's revelatory memoirs and uncovers other secrets, and Borau spoofs the family melodrama with a mise-en-scene that recalls Hollywood's glossy formalism. By the coda the daughter and one of her old playmates, an eccentric boarder at the mansion whose father fought with the Popular Army, have reverted to their childhood games, yet the film suggests that ultimately neither the victors nor the vanquished can hold on to the past. 100 min. A 35-millimeter print will be shown; Borau will attend the screening. Gene Siskel Film Center, Art Institute, Columbus Drive at Jackson, Saturday, April 7, 3:00, 312-443-3737.

--Ted Shen

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