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PRODUCTION Spain

Verdú and Portillo play billards

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After the success of Hector, which received four Goya nominations in 2005, Spanish director Gracia Querejeta teamed up once again with Davil Planell to write the script for her fifth feature film, Siete mesas (de billar francés), currently shooting in Madrid.

The film brings together Maribel Verdú – returning home after making several films in Latin America – and Blanca Portillo (Volver) as two very different women who will put aside their differences to reconstruct a new life. The plot begins with Verdú's character settling down in Madrid right after her father's death and the mysterious disappearance of her husband.

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Here, she not only has to learn to live with her stepmother (Portillo), but also soon realises that the billiard room her father owned is now rundown, far away the way it was in the old days of its splendour.

According to Querejeta, the degradation of the billiard room hides the decay of the father, who has disappeared, but also presents a new beginning. The director returns thus to the absence of the father figure, a theme already approached in her other films, such as El viaje de Robert Rylands and Una estación de peso.

Despite the general nostalgic tone of Querejeta's previous films this is one has a "broader sense of humour". She emphasised: "I always feel the need to rescue my characters from their conflicts and little miseries. In a two hour film there must be some kind of evolution and I always choose a positive one".

After Madrid, shooting will move to Vigo (in the Galicia region) for the last of the 10 weeks of shooting. Siete mesas (de billar francés) is produced by Elias Querejeta Producciones. The release date is set for early 2007.

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