Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.
Original title: Estiu 1993
Spain, 2017. Avalon, Creative Europe Media, Fundación SGAE, Inicia Films, Institut Català de les Empreses Culturals, Instituto de Credito Oficial, Instituto de la Cinematografia y de las Artes Audiovisuales, Media, Movistar+, Producciones Cinematográficas Cima, Radio Televisión Española, Sources 2, Televisio de Catalunya. Screenplay by Carla Simón. Cinematography by Santiago Racaj. Produced by Valérie Delpierre. Music by Pau Boïgues, Ernest Pipó. Production Design by Mónica Bernuy. Costume Design by Anna Aguilà. Film Editing by Didac Palou, Ana Pfaff. Berlin Film Festival 2017. European Film Awards 2017.
A woman’s death leaves a little girl orphaned, the child having lost her father some time earlier to the same circumstances as her mother, and leaving her at first in the care of her grandparents until it is decided that young Frida will go live with her mother’s brother and his wife on their farm, where they are raising their own little girl. Frida is treated with a great deal of affection by her aunt and uncle but, in her grief and fear and her inability to understand either, can’t help but act out in increasingly troubling and upsetting ways. The narrative of this exceptionally touching film by Carla Simón, who bases it on her own childhood experience, is simple to describe, but it plays out in small, subtle moments that narrative description would reduce to something banal. Simon treats both the moments of tenderness and rebellion from a wise and carefully calibrated distance that feels polished and smooth, while the repression of feeling that young Laia Artigas portrays so remarkably well in the lead role makes the conclusion incredibly devastating.