Sweet Hours | Chicago Reader

Sweet Hours

Carlos Saura's 1982 film introduces an unexpected strain of warmth and humor in his work. The scrambled time schemes and Freudian conundrums of Cria and The Garden of Delights are still there, but they lose some of their academic obdurateness under a glow of playfulness and philosophical acceptance. The elegantly effete Inaki Aierra stars as a playwright trying to work out his long-standing love affair with his manipulative mother through a new theater work, the rehearsals of which are being held in his boyhood home. Flashbacks mingle with episodes from the present as he enters into an affair with the actress he has cast as his mother, the radiant Assumpta Serna. Saura's ingrained formalism finally pays off with a beautifully conceived modernist finale, which mocks the film's themes of regression just as it idealizes and embraces them.

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