7.2/10
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18 user 32 critic

La noche de los girasoles (2006)

While a speleologist is exploring a cave near a village in the north of Spain, his girlfriend is attacked in the nearby woods. His reaction leads to a tragic chain of events.
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Esteban
...
Gabi
...
Amadeo
...
Vendedor
Mariano Alameda ...
Pedro
...
Tomás
...
Amós
Cesáreo Estébanez ...
Cecilio
Fernando Sánchez-Cabezudo ...
Beni
...
Marta
Nuria Mencía ...
Raquel
Enrique Martínez ...
Julián
Mariano Peña ...
Rovira
Amalia Hornero ...
Rosa
Luís Mascarenhas ...
Federico
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Storyline

After the discovery of the body of a sexually assaulted young girl hidden in a sunflower field, the horrible event is all over the news. The inhabitants of Cerredo, a small village in Spain, were living a simple lifestyle, until the unexpected discovery of an entrance to a cave, filled their hearts with expectation and dreams. While a crew from the Geology Department sent to investigate was inside the cave, an act of unprecedented violence was taking place. This will mark the beginning of a vicious cycle of violence, deception and greed, intertwining the stories as well as the lives of everyone involved. Written by Nick Riganas

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An Excellent Thriller! See more »

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Crime | Drama | Thriller

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Details

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Release Date:

25 August 2006 (Spain)  »

Also Known As:

The Night of the Sunflowers  »

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Technical Specs

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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Soundtracks

Kicking Pebbles
Written by Xoel López
Performed by Elephant Band
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User Reviews

 
A thriller that queries: Where do sunflowers face in the night?
26 April 2008 | by (Trivandrum, Kerala, India) – See all my reviews

"When the sunflower plant, Helianthus annuus, is in the bud stage, the head and the leaves do indeed track the path of the Sun. The genus name Helianthus is from the Greek helios "sun" and anthos "flower". Interestingly, however, and contrary to popular belief, once the massive topmost flower opens into the radiance of yellow petals, it slows and then stops moving, ending up permanently facing east." ---Solar flower, New Scientist, 3 August 2002

Why am I quoting this interesting trivia? Sunflower buds, we all know, keep moving but a stage comes when it does not move any further. Why am I discussing the night? That's the name of the film. The only teeny-weeny bit about sunflowers in the film But then the sun is not relevant for the night, is it? The near oxy-moronic title give a life to the movie after the film is over—in many ways similar to the disturbing Austrian-French film "Cache" made by Michael Haneke. For a cineaste who can sit through the film right up to the end of the film, the real punch line from the director comes in the form of an audible TV program statement about bees in a beehive, that do not attack unless provoked. This is an innocuous fact but is loaded with meaning in the context of the film's ending. This is a statement heard by the unpunished rapist on the prowl.

The Spanish director Sánchez-Cabezudo's film is based on his own script. (He is the latest among formidable Spanish directors making good films based on their own scripts, following the tradition of the gifted directors, Amenabar and Almodovar). Most viewers would appreciate or find good entertainment in the film while mulling over in the different non-linear narrative segments of the story of rape, vigilante killing, extra-marital sex, corruption, village vs urban comparisons, love for a dead spouse. Each segment provides a different Rashomon-type perspective of sections of the same story from a different angle, as seen by a different character. The director uses a technique used in modern pulp literature most recently used by Dan Browne for his book The Da Vinci Code. While the technique might baffle a few, most viewers would derive entertainment as they are constantly challenged to derive the entertainment.

The film offers dollops of entertainment ice-cream that most viewers want—-mystery, exploration of new found caves, a rape scene, a brief scene of violent death, and some endearing performances from the actors. If presented as a straight chronological narrative—the story could be made into a typical Hollywood thriller. But why is it different? It is different because of its end.

That is where the director and screenplay writer scores a bull's-eye—for a patient viewer who does not leave the theater once he sees the end credits begin to roll. The comment about the bees drive home the uncomfortable, parallel moral issues that Haneke raised in "Cache." Europeans and many of us prefer to retain status quo rather than rake up disturbing moral and social issues. It is convenient for us to do so. It is not because the issues are resolved. In this film the main culprit, a rapist is never brought to justice. If an attempt was made to bring him to justice, three persons would go behind bars for manslaughter, a homicide would surface, the reputation of an erring wife would become public knowledge, a good policeman's daughter would find out that her husband and father of her unborn baby is a corrupt cop and so on.

The film is, therefore, not merely a film to be appreciated for its structure but its underpinning question on morality. The film shows us that evil is not limited to a rapist but to the best of us. A good man could do evil in a fraction of a second. And to defend lesser evils, the bigger evil gets away. Only to scar our conscience for ever. Spanish cinema is on the move this decade. Sánchez-Cabezudo's film is good but the post-script in his screenplay is truly formidable. There indeed comes a time these days when "sunflowers" mature, stop turning towards the sun and only face the east.

Because it is convenient!


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