(aka "Pellet" )


directed by Achero Manas
Spain 2000


El Bola traces Pablo's relationship with Alfredo (Pablo Galán), a more confident, sophisticated schoolmate who befriends him and takes him to an amusement park, where Alfredo exchanges a chaste kiss with the older male ticket taker for two free passes. Alfredo becomes a role model of independence and fearlessness for Pablo. And when Pablo introduces Alfredo to his friends at the railroad tracks, Alfredo shrugs off the other boys' contempt after he refuses to play chicken.

As their friendship deepens, Alfredo leads Pablo into the bosom of his extended family, where Pablo discovers an easygoing camaraderie and nurturing warmth that are the exact opposite of the prisonlike atmosphere of his home. Alfredo's father, José (Alberto Jiménez), is a free-spirited tattoo artist and the center of a bohemian group of friends, many of whom have died of AIDS. One day Pablo accompanies Alfredo to the hospital to visit Alfredo's "godfather", who is near death.

As blunt as it is in depicting child abuse, El Bola is a movie steeped in an ambiguity that lends its conflicts a symbolic resonance. Its juxtaposition of two such radically opposing models of family could be seen as a metaphor for Spain in the Franco and post-Franco eras. In contrasting the brutal, repressive Mariano and the fun-loving, possibly bisexual José, it explores the definition of fatherhood and paternal authority. Late in the film, when Alfredo flagrantly disobeys José, who slaps him, the movie seems to view that slap as more appropriate discipline.

Excerpt from Stephen Holden, The New York Times


Theatrical Release: 20 October 2000

Reviews    More Reviews  DVD Reviews

DVD Review: Mongrel Media - Region 1 - NTSC

Big thanks to Yunda Eddie Feng for the Review!

DVD Box Cover


CLICK to order from:

The Film Movement version is reported to be the exact same and is found here:


Mongrel Media

Region 1 - NTSC

Runtime 87

2.35:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 4.76 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.


Audio Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo Spanish
Subtitles Forced English subtitles
Features Release Information:
Studio: Mongrel Media

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen letterboxed - 2.35:1

Edition Details:
• trailer for Water

DVD Release Date: 1 March 2007
Transparent Keepcase

Chapters 12




The 2.35:1 non-anamorphic widescreen image is generally soft and lacking in detail. This is an interlaced transfer with heavy combing that is not hidden well. Sometimes, the slightest movement causes combing to appear. There are frequent instances of haloing and edge enhancement. Sprinkles of dust and specks dot the print that was used for the video transfer.

The Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo Spanish track provides basic audio information without getting fancy (i.e. not a lot of stereo effects are used).

Forced English subtitles support the audio.

The only disc-based extras are a trailer for Water and a note about Mongrel Media.

Through the transparent keepcase, you can see an ad for other DVDs in Mongrel Media’s “The Festival Collection” that was printed on the back side of the DVD cover art.

 - Yunda Eddie Feng


DVD Menus



Screen Captures

Subtitle sample






Combing evident...











DVD Box Cover


CLICK to order from:

The Film Movement version is reported to be the exact same and found here:


Mongrel Media

Region 1 - NTSC


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