A Spanish family plans a large party for the 100th birthday of Mama (Rafaela Aparicio), the irascible matriarch who keeps her squabbling brood impoverished by her refusal to sell her land to real estate developers. Ana (Geraldine Chaplain), the family’s former English governess, returns after fifteen years to find that two of the children she cared for, Natalia (Amparo Munoz) and Carlota (Angeles Torres) have grown into beautiful young women. Her Spanish husband, Antonio (Norman Briski), who was never before interested in the family is drawn into the intrigue with his attraction to Natalia. One of Mama’s sons, Fernando (Fernando Fernan Gomez) is obsessed with flying on his hang glider while pouting over his unrequited love for Ana. The other, Juan (José Vivo), the father of the three girls, had previously run off with the maid, but returns for the party, much to the displeasure of his wife, Luchy (Charo Soriano). This family drama, a continuation of Saura’s ANA AND THE WOLVES, is loosely based on Fyodor Dostoevsky’s THE BROTHERS KARAMAZOV. Here Saura depicts, via the family struggle, the old Spain of Franco caught in the conflict to reject the past and embrace modernization.
It was nominated at the Oscar for the best foreign film in 1979.