Directed by Fernando León de Aranoa, starring Javier Bardem, Luis Tosar, José Ángel Egido, Nieve de Medina, Enrique Villén, Celso Bugallo, Joaquín Climent, Ada Folch, Serge Riaboukine and Laura Dominguez
'Mondays in the Sun' is the tale of a group of middle-aged men, who, laid off from their jobs at a shipyard and having little luck finding more work, spend their days watching the world pass them by. It maintains a careful balance between humour and utter tragedy as these men struggle to find a place in a world which seems determined to ignore them.
Santa (Bardem) is bitter and temperamental, with an eye for the women. He's given up hope of finding a job, while Lino (Egido) is going to all the interviews, determined to support his family. José's (Tosar) wife Ana (de Medina) supports them by working at a tuna factory, while Amador's (Bugallo) wife has left him in a constant drunken stupor and former trainee astronaut Serguei (Riaboukine) left Russia for a better life, but was let down along the way.
Other shipyard workers were luckier. Rico (Climent) used his severance pay to open a bar, while Reina (Villén) now works as a security guard, never missing the opportunity to point out that fact to his pals. The camaraderie among the group is heartening, but beneath it is a fierce anger and disappointment about their plight, as evinced in one tempestuous scene.
What's most pertinent about the film is that it gets the feelings of loss, despair and hopefulness in a situation like this absolutely spot on. Lino puts on a brave face, but deep down he knows that he's an old man compared to the people he's competing against for jobs. Proud Santa is determined to hold onto some moral high ground, while Amador can do nothing but drown his sorrows.
'Mondays in the Sun' perfectly dramatises the plight of these decent, hardworking men. The best thing about de Aranoa's film is that it's a poignant reminder that people like them still exist and have to battle circumstances like this one every day.