Friday 26 May 2023

Alcarràs [2022]

 Alcarràs was a decidedly political film, even when it wasn’t ostensibly so. Its embodiment of this curious dichotomy – between its themes vis-à-vis form – made it a particularly interesting work. It focussed on a closely-knit agricultural family’s last harvest before eviction from the peach orchard in rural Catalonia that they’ve tilled for generations – and the repercussions thereof, as it isn’t just their only livelihood, but raison d'être as well – because their landlord, refusing to honour the handshake agreement made by his deceased father, wants to raze it down and setup a lucrative solar farm in its place. Carla Simón, in an admirable artistic choice, gave space to every member of the Solé clan in the first film in Catalan language to win the Golden Bear – Quimet (Jordi Pujol Dolcet), the increasingly grumpy middle-aged patriarch who leads the backbreaking harvest; his strong-willed wife who helps him on the farm while also managing domestic chores; their gangly, impulsive adolescent son (Albert Bosch), emotionally confused pre-teen daughter, and carefree, lovable little Iris (Iris (Ainet Jounou); the reserved, downcast grandpa (Josep Abad), and adorable grandma who loves reminiscing; and Quimet’s proud sister, frivolous brother-in-law and their chirpy twin kids who they’re all very close to – through their tribulations and joys, conflicts and camaraderie, falling-out and solidarity. The film, on one hand, was organically interwoven with such topics as fading memories of the Spanish Civil where Catalonia had played a revolutionary role, the advent of green capitalism, the exploitation of farmers by market forces, and use of low-cost migrant labour; while, on the other, it was awash in lyrical naturalism, bittersweet tones, luminous landscapes, quirky moments and the melancholic passage of a way of life.

Director: Carla Simon

Genre: Drama/Rural Drama/Family Drama

Language: Catalan

Country: Spain

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