|Index||6 reviews in total|
Carlos Saura has been one of our finest directors for almost five
decades, and, after a bunch of irregular films in the nineties, returns
in top form with "El séptimo día". Based on the tragic true events
happening in 1992 in Spain, the film captures the essence of the
maddening atmosphere that gave way to the slaughter of Puerto Hurraco.
In Spain there is little tradition of portraying real-life events in film. Writers Loriga and Saura were actually heavily criticized by some, as if their film would bring back the painful memories that most people had chosen to forget. However, their film portrays the slaughter and the events that led to it with gusto and with no sign of sensationalism.
In fact, a great part of the film is devoted to depict the summer romance of a young girl (Yohana Cobo, what a discovery) and a lifeguard (Oriol Vila, another breakthrough). Thus, the murderers (outstanding Juan Diego, José Luis Gómez, Victoria Abril and Ana Wagener) are relegated to a secondary subplot for almost half of the film.
Saura managed to assemble one of the greatest casts of the last few years. Apart from the aforementioned, José García, Eulalia Ramón, Carlos Hipólito and, in bit parts, Elia Galera, Juan Sanz and Carlos Kaniowski are worth mentioning for their excellent work in "El séptimo día".
The best: the cast and the good taste in filming a real-life tragedy. The worst: that some people criticized it before they had even seen it. They should not forget that we are bound to repeat our history if we choose to forget it.
Carlos Saura brings back to life one of the darkest chapters of Spanish recent history. Jelousy, envy, fights for lands, and a bloody ending. "Underground" Spanish writer Ray Loriga surprises us all making a nice and sober script in which he tells us about what happened in the village of Puerto Urraco one summer of the early 90's. As usual, Saura has chosen a great cast. Maybe Juan Diego and José Luis Gfómez are not the youngest or the more handsome actors in the world, maybe they're not even the most popular, but they are just brilliant. Victoria Abril is in state of grace, and the way she built her character is just amazing. The Seventh day, the Sunday, hatred blew nine lives away, and Saura shows it as it was.
Thirty years of hatred among two families facing each other and
terminating into a burst of violence . It took place one bloody Sunday
. "The 7th Day" is based on real events but the roles are fictitious as
there happened ¨The Puerto Hurraco massacre¨, it was a mass murder that
occurred in Puerto Hurraco, a village in Benquerencia de la Serena
municipality in the Province of Badajoz, Spain on August 26, 1990, when
brothers Antonio and Emilio Izquierdo fired at people in the streets
with two shotguns, killing nine and wounding at least six others. The
perpetrators used two 12-gauge shotguns to cause the slaughter . The
two then fled, but were arrested a couple of hours later and eventually
sentenced each to 684 years in prison.
This interesting film deals with a tragedy of human emotions pushed over the edge . This hard picture is well set in Spain of the late 8os , as some unfortunate events and disputes lead toward more frequent and angrier facing off , when two men set out a planned vendetta that terminates a final slaughter . Its style is pretty much sour , dry and realistic as well in the atmosphere as in the fresh dialog . ¨El Septimo Dia¨ or "The Seventh Day" shows the miseries of some amoral characters and their bloody vengeance . This film describes the rural life , including dances , character studio of local people and an enjoyable love story among a young couple . The film holds some similarity to Saura's former films such as ¨The chase¨ or ¨La caza¨ and ¨Dispara¨ or ¨Outrage , in which revenger people pick up their rifles and execute a criminal spree . Well played by known and prestigious actors such as Juan Diego , Victoria Abril , Jose Luis Gomez and Jose Garcia . And a fine plethora of notorious secondaries such as Ana Wagener , Carlos Kaniowsky , Elia Galera , Carlos Hipolito , Mariano Peña , Marivi Bilbao , brief acting by Antonio De la Torre as Cabo Guardia Civil and Eulalia Ramon , Carlos Saura's wife . And introducing three little girls such as Yohana Cobo as Isabel , Irene Escolar as Antonia and Alejandra Lozano as Encarnación . Good production design by Rafael Palmero and correctly reflecting the atmosphere by that time . Splendid photography with juicy atmosphere by Francois Lartigue . Being appropriately filmed on location , showing one colorful filming from Otero de Herreros, Segovia, Castilla y León, Spain . Atmospheric musical score by Roque Baños who composes a soundtrack plenty of Andalucian and Flamenco songs . Baños is a successful composer such as ¨Fragiles¨ , ¨The Machinist¨ , ¨Sexy beast¨ , ¨800 bullets¨ and composing Hollywood pictures such as ¨Old Boy¨ .
The motion picture perfectly produced by magnificent producer Andres Vicente Gomez was rightly directed by Carlos Saura , a good Spanish movies director . He began working in cinema in 1959 when he filmed ¨Los Golfos ¨(1962) dealing with juvenile delinquency from a sociological point of view . And of course ¨La Caza¨ or ¨The Chase¨ (1966) his most successful film , this picture deservedly won Silver Bear in the Berlin Festival . Saura is a well recognized filmmaker both nationally and internationally, and in proof of it he won many prizes among which there are the following ones : Silver Bear in Festival of Berlin for Peppermint Frappé (1967), Special Jury Awards in Cannes for La Prima Angélica (1974), and for Cría Cuervos in 1975. All of them shot at the height of his creativity, in a period cultural difficult, where the enormous censorship of the political regime exacerbated the ingenuity and imagination of the scriptwriters . Also, the film Mamá Cumple Cien Años (1979) got an Oscar nomination in 1979 as the best foreign film , and it also won the Special Jury Award at the San Sebastian Festival . He subsequently made ¨Deprisa , Deprisa¨ based on facts about juvenile delinquency in Spain since the 80s , as he tried to take a position in favour of outcast people and he got to make a both lyric and documentary-style cinema . In 1990, he won two Goyas , the Spanish Oscar , as best adapted screenplay writer and best director . Saura became an expert on Iberian musical adaptations as ¨Carmen¨ , ¨Amor Brujo¨ , ¨Bodas De Sangre¨ , ¨Sevillanas¨ ,¨Iberia¨ , ¨Salome¨, ¨Fado¨, ¨Flamenco¨ and even recently Opera as ¨Io , Don Giovanni¨
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Some Spanish drama of the early twentieth century tended to present
stories based on the heartland. That is the case with most of the work
of Federico Garcia Lorca, perhaps the best playwright and poet of
modern Spain. The rural settings involved situations in which the love
for the land was a strong feeling that caused most confrontations,
eliciting revenge, as the passions were out for everyone to see.
Carlos Saura, a noted director, tried his hand with the screenplay Ray Loriga created based on a real incident in the 1990s in the country side. It involved the feud between two clans that only brought tragedy to their own impoverished lives. Mr. Saura, who started his film career working under the Franco dictatorship, always got away with the contents of the tales he presented by making parables that had strong messages that audiences interpreted as they saw the hiding meanings.
Johana Cobo, who was seen as Penelope Cruz's daughter in Almodovar's "Volver" plays Isabel, and through her eyes we get to know about the story. Victoria Abril who always plays more sophisticated roles appears as Luciana the wronged girl who is left with her wedding gown as a souvenir of the love she felt for the boy from the opposite clan. Jose Diaz and Eulalia Ramon bring dignity to their take of the Fuentes. Juan Diego makes an intense Antonio.
Francois Lartigue captures the essence of the life in that part of Spain during the summer. We also enjoyed Roque Banos musical score. Carlos Saura, whose last films concentrated mainly on dance, returns in excellent form for this gripping account of a real shocking tragedy.
"God created life within 6 days, and on the seventh, he rested. That is why horrible things usually happens on sundays". This quote summarizes both the story, the mood of the movie, and a way, the Spanish way of life/death. As Death is part of life, in Spain. Sangre, Sexo y Muerte (blood, sex and death)make life in that country. We use to figure out that among Greece's daughters, Italy is Comedy while Spain is Drama. Sobre drama, compared to Greek dramas. Saura paints this mood perfectly. We all know from the beginning what will happen. Besides, we are all surprised when "It" happens, but it is not more violent or chocking than other parts of the movie. "In a small village, everybody knows each other. While each one is different, each one is the same anyway." Meaning that a small village lives like bees, without any queen. Sun is burning hearts, souls, camps, farms and reason. From the first violently ended lovestory to the final massacre, through claims on land terminated with knives, global ressent and despair, moquery from a whole village, this movie is about the life of a family of two old couples, avenging from the entire village they were obliged to leave long ago, but they stayed close to it. They are not totally victims, as one member of their family (or "clan") murdered the brother of a family man, the butcher, and tried to murder the brother as well. The latter is father of 3 young girls, one of which is falling in love with a young guy (the "moto-guy" of the village), who finally leaves the village to leave its life. All the story is seen though the eyes of that young girl.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
It's hard to believe the facts depicted in this movie. In general, the
same topic that was the basis for "Elephant" (Gus Van Sant) is present
here: A killing spree, inspired by revenge, and madness. In THE SEVENTH
DAY though, the deed is carried out by grown ups, and somehow that is
harder to believe. We are informed that ELEPHANT was inspired by the
tragedy in Columbine. As irrational as it was, the explanation was
there: a typical reaction of outcasts, not coping with a society that
alienate them. A crisis of teenagers. But what about grown ups?. Harder
So, you tend to believe that the premise in THE SEVENTH DAY is possible, but not probable. That is until you know that this movie was also inspired in actual events. There was a killing spree that took place in Puerto Hurraco, Spain, in 1990, carried out by two brothers, supposedly instigated by their sisters. In the real events, it seems that an old dispute over lands, and a failed love, originated everything. In Carlos Saura's movie, those facts are fictionalized, but there's something more, that somehow is implicit in the real causes: the perpetrators felt alienated, hated, cursed by the rest of the town. So their anger and hatred, and their madness, accumulated for years, could only find one way out.
I got to know that the movie was based in actual events after I watched it, and I couldn't believe it. It gave me a completely new perspective about what I thought was an improbable scenario. What do you know? A sign of the times indeed. Elephant and The Seventh Day depict violent and irrational acts that not long ago were supposed to be only in movies, but regretfully, are part of our reality.
There are some formal problems in this movie that make me grant it a 7/10 qualification, mainly some secondary story lines that have no great interest or are treated superficially, and a narration that doesn't work well overall. But still, the story is not as fictionalized as to make it ridiculously improbable, and once you know that the main facts are true, you can tell yourself: yes, this is how it could have happened.
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