Tuesday 27 January 2015

Cria Cuervos [1976]

Spanish giant Carlos Saura’s 1976 masterpiece Cria Cuervos, the title is a Spanish proverb which means ‘raise ravens and they’ll pluck out your eyes’, stands tall for its powerful denunciation of Franco’s regime in particular and the devastating legacy of fascism in general. Saura’s political allusions were indelibly put forth through this somber, haunting and deeply affecting portrayal of grief, mortality, marital breakdown, loss of innocence and a very serious adult world, through the eyes of a perceptive kid, and is bound to remind one of Bergman’s Fanny & Alexander as well as the other renowned Ana Torrent film Spirit of the Beehive. 8-year old Ana, growing up in a gloomy mansion, cut off from the rest of the world, in the company of her elder sister Irene (Conchi Pérez), younger sister Mayte (Maite Sánchez), their caring housekeeper Rosa (Florinda Chico), disabled grandmother (Josefina Díaz) and icy aunt (Mónica Randall), is convinced that her father (Héctor Alterio), a stern, philandering and chauvinistic officer in Franco’s army, is responsible for the death of her cancer-stricken mother (Geraldine Chalpin – she also played the older Ana), and intends to avenge her death.  Saura made complex use of non-linear flashbacks, and veered between real and dreams, for this profound, fascinating and disconcerting meditation on memory, repression and guilt, both personal and collective, and was aided in equal measures by the fine performances led by the cherubic Torrent, the austere cinematography, and the melancholic score that alternated with the lilting pop hit ‘Porque te vas?’.

Director: Carlos Saura
Genre: Drama/Psychological Drama/Family Drama
Language: Spanish
Country: Spain

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