Saturday 21 February 2015

Ana and the Wolves (Ana y los Lobos) [1973]

Ana and the Wolves was Saura’s damning and his most brazen indictment of Franco-era Spanish socio-political milieu in terms of the deeply problematic and self-serving alliance between the triumvirate of military, bourgeoisie and church. The harsh, masterfully and brilliantly allegorical film was filled with lacerating political metaphors, sharp satirical overtones and pungent black humour, and was followed by a sequel, viz. Mama Turns 100, 6 years later following Franco’s death, which, too, was nearly as vitriolic in its caricature of power structures. Ana (Geraldine Chaplin), a young American lady, finds herself in the midst of an incredibly convoluted and dysfunctional family when she arrives at a completely isolated mansion located in the middle of nowhere in order to be the governess to three young girls. The farcical family is dominated by 3 middle-aged brothers – José (José María Prada), a control-freak autocrat and a stand-in for the military who values order, hierarchy and discipline, and has a penchant for collecting WWII  memorabilia; Juan (José Vivó), a sleazy and slimy man who habitually cheats on his wife Luchy (Charo Soriano), and  represents the morally corrupt elite; and Fernando (Fernando Fernán Gómez), a hapless, disheveled and bumbling man who intends to shun all material possessions and retreat to a cave, and symbolizes the Catholic church; their clinically obese and death-obsessed mother (Rafaela Aparicio) literally sits over their heads as the family matriarch. The bemused well-travelled foreigner Ana, taking advantage of the 3 convoluted brothers' feelings, start playing with their eccentricities and fetishes, until this amusing game reaches a shocking crescendo through fulfillment of barely suppressed fantasies in this powerful, disturbing, provocative and fabulously shot, scored and enacted film.

Director: Carlos Saura
Genre: Drama/Black Comedy/Political Satire
Language: Spanish
Country: Spain

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