Synopsis by Mark Deming
Rodrigo de Arista (Fernando Fernan-Gomez) is an elderly Spanish gentleman who went to the United States in hopes of cashing in on the gold rush, but returned to Northern Spain with very little to show for his efforts. He discovers upon his arrival that his son has died, leaving behind a wife, Lucrecia (Cayetana Guillen-Cuervo) and two daughters. However, a note from his late son informs Rodrigo that he fathered one of the children, but the other is a bastard that his wife conceived in an adulterous relationship with a French painter. Rodrigo is determined to find out which of the two children is his real granddaughter; his relationship with Lucrecia, which was never cordial, is now strained even further when she realizes that Rodrigo knows her secret and could destroy her reputation in the small town that she calls home. Rodrigo is aided in his search for the truth by Pio Coronado (Rafael Alonso), an old friend who also tutors the two children. El Abuelo received an Academy Award nomination for Best Foreign Language Film in 1999; it was also nominated for 13 Goya Awards, Spain's leading prize for excellence in filmmaking, with Fernando Fernan-Gomez taking home the trophy for Best Actor.
granddaughter, illegitimate-child, patriarch, death, search, paternity, small-town, Spain, heir
High Artistic Quality