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Once a famous footballer, Josè (Eduardo Verástegui) now works at his brother Manny's (Manny Perez) restaurant as a cook. But when Manny summarily sacks waitress Nina (Tammy Blanchard), for being late for the second day in a row, Josè follows her outside and while trying to console her, learns she was late because she had a pregnancy test that proved positive. She intends to have an abortion, but he tries to talk her out of it and reveals the trauma that ended his soccer career. And he suggests a possible alternative.

Review by Andrew L. Urban:
Winner of the People's Choice Award at the 2006 Toronto Film Festival, Bella is a gentle, life affirming love story with a difference: it's not a romantic love story. One of the recent crop of Mexican films that resonate with audiences around the world, Bella is a small film with a big heart and a carefully calibrated, bitter sweet story about a young man, his fatal mistake and his redemption.

Eduardo Verástegui is a handsome and charming if low key Josè, and Tammy Blanchard delivers an effortless and engaging Nina. (The Christian references, including his beard and white outfit, might seem a tad overdone, though...) Their relationship is the vehicle through which the real story is told, with help from a terrific supporting cast, including Manny Perez as the restaurateur brother and Angelica Aragon and Jaime Tirelli as Josè's life loving parents. There is lots of food, some casual humour and a recognition that some pain in life can never be made to disappear, although it can be muted and managed.

Writer/director Alejandro Gomez Monteverde steers a careful course between melodrama and schmaltz to explore people behaving nicely in a difficult situation - which makes a change. Nina's traumatic childhood and present state of isolation is a contrast to Josè's happy family surroundings, a fact that impacts on her choices. But these factors are not thrust at us; they are observations we are encouraged to make, which draws us into the film and its characters.

DVD special features include a 'making of' documentary plus interview with director and cast.

Published June 19, 2008

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(US/Mexico, 2006)

CAST: Eduardo Verástegui, Tammy Blanchard, Manny Perez, Ali Landry, Angelica Aragon, Jaime Tirelli, Ramon Rodriguez

PRODUCER: Jason Jones, Alejandro Gomez Monteverde, Denise Pinckley, Leo Severino, Eduardo Verástegui, Sean Wolfington

DIRECTOR: Alejandro Gomez Monteverde

SCRIPT: Alejandro Gomez Monteverde


EDITOR: Joseph Gutowski, Fernando Villena

MUSIC: Stephan Altman


RUNNING TIME: 91 minutes


AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: February 21, 2008


SPECIAL FEATURES: The Making of, interviews with director and cast

DVD DISTRIBUTOR: Hopscotch Entertainment

DVD RELEASE: June 19, 2008

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