Spanish film gives voice to Down's syndrome lovers

Fri Oct 16, 2009 11:18am EDT
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By Blanca Rodriguez

MADRID (Reuters Life!) - A Spanish film opening at cinemas on Friday portrays the prejudice suffered by people with Down's syndrome who just want love lives like everybody else.

"I'm 34 years old. I'm a man, not a child!" leading player Pablo Pineda screams in frustration in one scene in "Yo Tambien" (Me Too), which was a surprise hit at the recent San Sebastian film festival.

In another scene, a mother reports her 25-year-old Down's syndrome daughter to the police for going out on a date, unable to accept that she has reached adulthood.

The subject is not commercially attractive and so the first-time directors took five years to make the film on a shoe-string budget, and have cast just one professional actor.

Pineda plays Daniel, an office worker in Seville, using a script based on episodes from his life as Spain's first university graduate with Down's syndrome.

Shortly after starting work, Daniel falls for a co-worker played by Lola Duenas, who acted alongside Oscar winner Penelope Cruz in Pedro Almodovar's 2006 film "Volver."

Duenas also had a controversial role in the 2004 picture "The Sea Inside," in which a paraplegic fisherman -- played by Oscar winner Javier Bardem -- begs for assisted suicide. That won her a Spanish Goya for Best Actress.

"Life and cinema come together in a harsh way," Duenas told reporters at a screening of "Yo Tambien." "The players are real, which makes the story all the more powerful, along with what happens to you inside."   Continued...