Daily Archives: May 22, 2021

Con subtítulos en español: Baracoa

This is the film offering for this weekend from Instituto Cervantes. They are free, but you do need to book to get the link. Like the film last week, this is a semi-documentary (or as the co-producers describe it ‘narrative non-fiction documentary’, this time about two boys, one aged 13 and the other 9, who have grown up together in a country town. Now the older boy is shifting to La Habana. Much of the film involves the two boys romping, wrestling and teasing each other. My knowledge of Spanish slang is insufficient to understand much of what they were saying, but it all seemed to be good-natured offensiveness. It is summer holidays, and the kids just roam around disused buildings and empty swimming pools, with nary an adult in sight. Once the older boy Antuán shifts to Havana, the younger boy Leonal visits him but things have changed.

I gather that this was filmed documentary-style, and largely unscripted. I’d forgotten the slow easiness of Cuba, even in Havana. It’s all very subtle and atmospheric, but not much happens.

Spanish Film Festival 2021: The Island of Lies

I know that the Spanish Film Festival has finished for this year, but this is mainly to remind me of the films that I watched as part of it.

This film is set on a rugged island off the coast of Galacia in 1921. The men have left to go to the mainland, leaving only the women, the local school teacher and lighthouse keeper and the cruel overseer. A storm hits the island, and a passing ship with 260 emigrants bound for Buenos Aires sinks. In the turmoil of the storm, we see three women murder the overseer but it’s not really clear what is going on. The three women then take a lifeboat and are responsible for saving the lives of the few survivors. They are feted on the mainland, but then the news story changes and their act of mercy comes under suspicion.

To be honest, I’m not really quite sure what was true, although I think that might have been the purpose of the film-makers, who have based this film loosely on a true story. I was struck by the primitive conditions on the island, and the primal wildness of the women. I hadn’t really thought of links across islands transcending national boundaries, but it reminded me of islands off the Scottish and Irish coasts.

My rating: 8/10