A quirky, intriguing attempt to bring a book of poetry to the screen
Apparently based around the only time the author lived for a significant period in Moguer, as an adult, the film creates a moving vignette of village life and the nostalgia of the author, then recovering from depression, as he remembers happier times from his childhood. The book by Juan Ramón Jiménez from which the film takes its title was eventually published in 1915.
The links between the book and the film are fairly tenuous. Most of the key people are there although sometimes in surprising form. In the film Aguedilla is second only to Juan and manages to steal several of the scenes, in the book she makes only two fleeting appearances, one of these being the dedication. A number of the stories from the book and some extracts of the poetry, although this not always comfortable with the scene that it appears in, also appear in the film.
Simply shot in a style that is reminiscent of much earlier films and with an, at times, haunting sound track, the film recalls a now lost era through a slightly "rose tinted" lens but remains true to the book's sad ending and doesn't shy away from commenting on the cultural and financial issues that were in part responsible for the developing political turmoil in Spain during the early decades of the 20th Century.
The book, a slim volume, is a gem of Spanish literature from a period which saw a flourishing of poets and poetry in Spain. Although originally published as part of a "Library for young readers" it wasn't written for children as the author, himself, makes clear in the prologue, which contains a warning to anyone that would read this book to children.
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