The Coffee Table

A new baby is inevitably stressful, as is moving house; for María and Jesús Borobia the two events have coincided, little Cayetano arriving and causing disruption and making demands and the redecoration of the new flat incomplete despite best intentions with only the colourful walls of the baby’s room finished, the next purchase the coffee table for the living room which Jesús has chosen and María dislikes intensely and vocally.

Her resistance only making Jesús more determined, he stubbornly manhandles the flatpack delivery up the flights of stairs, his frustration compounded by an unwanted encounter with their neighbour and her obsessive lovesick thirteen-year-old daughter and then a missing screw which prevents completion of the construction, his preoccupation allowing María her first chance since the birth to escape the flat and maternal responsibilities, gratefully leaving Jesús with their son who refuses to settle.

Sold with the promise that it will bring joy and make their lives better, The Coffee Table (La mesita del comedor) is less a comedy horror than a black comedy of horrible things, the first among them the titular object, described as a classic of the iconic and desirable Rörret design, a salesman’s desperate pitch to sell a monstrosity of bronze painted carved wooden figures supporting an “unbreakable” glass top which comes to symbolise the fragility of life and family.

Directed by Caye Casas from a script co-written with Cristina Borobia, Estefanía de los Santos is María, exasperated with her husband’s bizarre behaviour and evasions and oblivious to what has occurred in her absence, while David Pareja’s Jesús grasps for normality in the crushing enormity of his guilt, aware he has done a terrible thing and must now scrub blood out of the shag pile carpet with a mop in a futile attempt to make everything appear normal.

Jesús’ brother Carlos and his pregnant eighteen-year-old vegan girlfriend Cristina (Josep Maria Riera and Claudia Riera) visiting to meet Cayetano for the first time, they bring naïve exuberance to casual conversation around the ruins of the coffee table which grates on his fraught nerves as he tries to delay discovery of his misdeed while cognisant that his own life is irrevocably shattered, clinging to the moments in which they remain oblivious in the same way that he has tried to recreate his own childhood in Cayetano’s room, decorated with action figures from his youth.

Grim and disturbing, absurd and uncomfortable simple in premise yet devastating in execution, The Coffee Table is the focal point of a maelstrom of grief, rage, despair and hopelessness, Jesús unable to comprehend or explain what he has done or conceive what to do next, only doing what he can to preserve and prolong the moment before the tragedy which he alone created and stoically bears must be shared among those closest to him, multiplying rather than diminishing it.

The Coffee Table will be available on digital download from mid May



Show Buttons
Hide Buttons