Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.5.
Spain, 1976. Elías Querejeta Producciones Cinematográficas S.L.. Screenplay by Carlos Saura. Cinematography by Teo Escamilla. Produced by Elías Querejeta. Music by Frederic Mompou, Jose Luis Perales. Production Design by Rafael Palmero. Costume Design by Maiki Marin. Film Editing by Pablo G. del Amo. Cannes Film Festival 1976. Golden Globe Awards 1977.
Ana Torrent, star of Victor Erice’s The Spirit of The Beehive three years earlier, is the central figure in this equally mesmerizing, haunting film about the lives of three little girls who are orphaned when their philandering father (Héctor Alterio) follows their unhappy mother (Geraldine Chaplin) to the grave. Now under the care of their caring but unprepared aunt, the girls spend the rest of their summer exploring their childhood, with Torrent at the centre reacting with anger and confusion at the betrayals she sees in her superiors. As a grown-up (also played by Chaplin), she narrates her memories of her youth and tries to interpret the metamorphosis that happened to her as she gained a deeper understanding of adult life. One of Carlos Saura’s most powerful films, it’s an exceptional instance of post-Franco cinema and features no shortage of top-notch performances, direction and writing.