Spanish with English subtitles

An exploration of family taboos, this quiet and austere third feature from Martín Cuenca (The Weakness of the Bolshevik, Hard Times) delves into the deepest regions of the human soul. The windswept beaches and mountains of Almeria are located on the Mediterranean in the southern province of Andalucia, Spain. It’s an area that is rarely portrayed in Spanish cinema, but one that Manuel Martín Cuenca uses as a central character in Half of Oscar, providing the ideal space to contemplate the complicated relationship between Oscar and his sister Maria. Oscar works as a security guard at a semi-abandoned salt mine. His lonely days consist of riding his bike to work, putting on his uniform and his gun, and contemplating the mountains of salt. Oscar’s routine is interrupted when his aging grandfather is moved from a home to the hospital and Oscar discovers that his sister, Maria, whom he hasn’t heard from in two years, will be coming to Almeria. To his bewilderment, she arrives pregnant and with a boyfriend in tow. The silent tension between brother and sister is palpable. Martín Cuenca’s use of the unique environment of Almeria is one of the most accomplished elements in the film; unadorned with music, the soundscape is comprised of the natural ambience of the landscape, which becomes as integral to the film as the visuals. Silence and subtext speak volumes in this poignant film about impossible loves.

About the Director
Having directed the feature-length documentary El juego de Cuba in 2001, Manuel Martin Cuenca presented in San Sebastian’s Zabaltegi section his directorial debut, La flaqueza del bolchevique (The Weakness of the Bolshevik), Goya Award® for Best New Actress (María Valverde). In 2005 he competed in San Sebastian Festival’s Official Selection with Malas Temporadas. He returned to documentaries with Últimos testigos: Carrillo comunista (2009) and La cara B (2013), and again to fiction with La mitad de Óscar (2010) and Caníbal (Cannibal, 2013), Best Cinematography Award in San Sebastian and a Goya Award® in the same category.