El Bola (Pellet) Achero Mañas

El Bola is Pablo (Juan José Ballesta), a 12-year-old Spanish boy nicknamed "Pellet" who lives with an abusive father (Manuel Morón) and has trouble connecting with his classmates. Pablo gets his nickname from the little pellet he lays on a railroad track where he and his classmates play a deadly game of chicken with speeding locomotives. Pablo loosens up when new kid Alfredo (Pablo Galán) arrives in class. Alfredo comes from a bohemian background where his Dad is a tattoo artist. Their friendship and contrasting families are at the heart of this kitchen-sink drama. The film is straightforwardly shot like a documentary. In fact, Pablo's beating by his father is amongst the most harrowing in film history. While the ending could have been more climatic, writer/director Achero Mañas shows a sensitivity to social issues that is worth comparisons to Britain's Ken Loach. Unfortunately, there are no extras offered on this DVD release. (Mongrel Media)