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In the harsh post-war years' Catalan countryside, Andreu, a child that belongs to the losing side, finds the corpses of a man and his son in the forest. The authorities want his father to be made responsible of the deaths, but Andreu tries to help his father by finding out who truly killed them. In this search, Andreu develops a moral consciousness against a world of adults fed by lies. In order to survive, he betrays his own roots and ends up finding out the monster that lives within him. Written by
Agustí Villaronga's 'Pa Negre' has one of the most stupendously shot and chilling opening sequences I've seen among recent films. I wasn't aware of the hype surrounding it, including the fact that it had won many Goyas. A friend had recommended this film.
Set against the backdrop of postwar Catalonia, writer Emili Teixador weaves a complex tale of greed, betrayal, sacrifice and redemption. In a way, 'Pa Negre' is also a coming of age tale but a very dark one. Villaronga does an excellent job of bringing it to screen. His way of unfolding the story and uncovering the truth about the characters is done meticulously. It also provides some interesting historical insight that is less known to those not familiar with post-war Catalonia.
Moreover, the look of the film is quite authentic. The feel of the time seems to have been captured very well. The village and the stunning natural locations are are very real. Cinematography, editing and lighting are superb. The performances are sincere. Young actor Francesc Colomer does a fine job in leading the film. The rest of the actors are equally compelling.
'Pa Negre' opens with three brutal murders and ens with a child's realization of the dark truth that has changed him forever. Villaronga tells a disturbing tale of how war creates monsters even of those whom you've known all your life as loving beings with ideals.
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