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Fernando Fernán Gómez,
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Bankmanager Modesto Pardos(played by Antonio Resines) daughter dies in an forest fire while camping. 7 years later Pardos bank gets robbed and robbers breaks open numerous safe deposit ... See full summary »
A hugely entertaining and thoroughly enjoyable experience, The Night Of The Sunflowers is a Spanish thriller which hallmarks the great traditions of European cinema, where a focus on characters and their interactions with each other is the prime driving force. Set in a secluded and seemingly serene Spanish village "Sunflowers" weaves a sinister tale of mistaken identity, love, hate and murder, which can only be described as compelling viewing.
What the director Jorge Sanchez-Cabezudo is immediately noted for is his character development within the context of a story. 'Sunflowers' shifts its pace half through way throughout the film from murder intrigue to an entangled web of deceit, but all of this is shown and felt via the superb usage of the varied acting talents at his disposal. Cabezudo knows precisely what he is trying to achieve and does so with an assurance of a director with plentiful more experience, suffice to say his debut is impressive.
Shot in a partially non-linear fashion it manages to portray, through chapter-styled segments, how each particular protagonist, and/or antagonist comes to be involved in this situation, providing for a greater well rounded feel and sense of fulfilment come the films finale.
What is striking, though, is the theme of fractured relationships which runs vividly and often poignantly throughout the course of the film. The archaeologist and his wife and the untold issues they have who are 'seemingly' brought closer together as the shocking ordeal continues, the police deputy and his wife as he struggles through what he perceives to be a turgid and boring existence, and how he is unable to escape the restrictions imposed by his superior, and father-in-law, in all regards. Not just these, but the dealings of the elderly gentlemen on the outskirts and their eternal war of attrition, and even the title itself carries connotations of opposites being juxtaposed, The "Night" of the "Sun"flowers.
The key issue revolves back to a notion of people becoming so infused and becoming so embroiled with their own side-stories, that in turn the key moment of the film is entirely forgotten. What Cabezudo intelligently points out is how we all can become distracted from what is important, that something so explosive came out of initially something so small that it makes you query characters; 'if they had done that', 'if they had done this' it wouldn't have happened. The Night Of The Sunflowers is a frighteningly intelligent, bordering on complex piece of theatre which is cleverly constructed and undoubtedly absorbing upon viewing, that actually gives the audience credit as being somewhat able to put pieces together. It is a truly good Spanish thriller that tackles not only conspiracy and murder, but the people that put themselves into these positions, and allow them to only continue and fester, becoming embroiled in revenge over justice. Whether it be the Sunflowers, roses, tulips or poppies, this is one night worth staying up for.
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