Yerma, a young woman whose marriage to Juan has produced no children, is frustrated because she sees the years go by without having the child she yearns for. It's clear Yerma doesn't love Juan. It's Victor, the young shepherd that has shown affection to her, that Yerma desires. Living in the backward region of Andalucia, she becomes an object of gossip because everyone has seen her with Victor.
"Yerma" the excellent play of one of Spain's best known poets, Federico Garcia Lorca, is given a tepid cinematic translation by its director, Pilar Tavora, who also adapted it for the cinema. This "Yerma" cries for a stronger hand to bring all that Lorca created, and worst of all, all the Lorcan poetry is not to be found in this version.
As already pointed out by another contributor, a memorable staging of the play by the Spanish actress Nuria Espert, is still vivid in one's imagination. Aitana Sanchez Gijon, a great beauty, is not exactly what one would have imagined for the lead role. Ms. Sanchez Gijon casts a bland presence in the movie and throws it out of balance.
The other performances are adequate, but the director didn't inspire her cast to do a better job the way she had staged the film. It's a dark piece of film-making that doesn't provoke the audience. Among the supporting players we see Irene Papas, who plays the old pagan woman. Juan Diego is seen as Juan, the older husband who is more afraid of his honor than what he has not brought to his marriage. Jesus Cabrero, appears briefly as Victor. Ana Fernandez, and Maria Galiana, who worked together in an extraordinary film, "Solas", are also seen in minor roles.
"Yerma" and Garcia Lorca deserve much better than this feeble attempt to bring it to a wide audience.
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