Synopsis by Mark Deming
A boy from an abusive home finds a new lease on life through friendship in this drama from Spain. Pablo (Juan Jose Ballesta) is a 12-year-old boy growing up in an underprivileged neighborhood in Madrid. Pablo doesn't have many friends, and his home life is not happy -- his father Mariano (Manuel Maron) often beats him, and his mother Aurora (Golria Munoz) doesn't know what to do about it. Alfredo (Pablo Galan) is a new boy in town who has just enrolled in Pablo's class at school; Pablo and Alfredo strike up an immediate friendship, and Pablo feels comfortable with Alfredo's family, particularly his father Jose (Alberto Gimenez), who draws tattoos for a living, and his mother Marisa (Nieve de Medina). Alfredo's godfather has been hospitalized with AIDS-related illnesses, and when Alfredo goes to visit him, Pablo tags along, which angers Mariano and leads to another violent episode. Alfredo notices Pablo's bruises and tells his parents, and Jose enlists a social worker, Laura (Ana Wagener), to help find a safer environment for the boy. El Bola was produced in association with UNICEF.
child-abuse, family-abuse, family-strife, social-worker, new-kid-in-town, AIDS, tattoo