The valley of Arratia in August 1999. Ander, a farmer well into his forties, lives with his sister Arantxa and his old mother in a remote part of rural Basque country. His is a monotonous life filled with nothing but farm work and a job at the local bicycle factory. It won't be long before Arantxa gets married and leaves home and then Ander will be left to look after their stubborn mother on his own. Then one day Ander has an accident and breaks his leg. His limb will be in a plaster cast for two months. Against his mother's wishes, the family decides to employ a Peruvian immigrant, José, in order to help out. The arrival of the new farm hand has an influence on interpersonal relationships within the family. The old woman, who barely speaks any Spanish, refuses to communicate with José, but Arantxa and Ander soon get to know José quite well. The two men in particular become firm friends. After attending Arantxa's fiancés' stag night the men both wind up having sex with a prostitute, ... Written by
I saw this recently at the London Film Festival, and the organisers tried to keep quiet about the gay element ... but Time Out described it as a Basque Brokeback - so, the cover was blown ! When the director introduced it, he warned the audience that it was a slow film, but hoped it wasn't boring. It was definitely slow, but definitely was not boring. The slow pace of the film mirrored the slow pace of rural life, and the stunning scenery helped too.
A friend commented that the lack of soundtrack was disconcerting, but I found it concentrated attention on subject of the film ...
The lead performance was outstanding, as he wrestled with his sexuality ... and the rest of the actors were very good too. Everything about the film rang true.
Afterwards the director mentioned that the film had been made on half a million euro - a truly phenomenal achievement.
Definitely worth seeing.
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