Soap operas have proved rich material for a lot of feminist analyses. The genre is known for being a vehicle for stereotypes in social representations of couples and families. The director makes a shrewd nod to Goenkale, a Basque telenovela, at the heart of the film. Zarata is like the sediment of a serial novel whose reassuring colours have been swapped for depressing black and white, the musical emphasis liquidated, replaced by a sobriety conducive to listening. What’s left is what makes these successful forms so appealing: the long discussions on the phone or in the car, which, here, in a pared-down, fragmentary production, are the setting for secrets, outpourings and the dissection of love’s trials and tribulations. Two actors portray June and Marian, cis straight forty-something single women. Taking the opposite tack from the facile soap opera, the conversational machine is the ideal playground for making explicit – in no uncertain terms – an economy of desire caught in the trap of gender relations and domination. This is a film that resembles a couch that doesn’t shy away from the question of cinematic direction. Not without irony, Tamara Garcia Iglesias superimposes production documents, like a critical background that reveals a certain prescriptive order in the making of movies. But the fact remains that Zarata turns out to be a place where things can shift… although the film opens with a man’s self-confident words cynically laying out the industry’s funding issues in the light of today’s identity politics, it is a woman – perhaps the director’s alter ego – who has the last word.