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Juanma Bajo Ulloa
Susana García Díez
A film set in the Basque region, beginning in the Carlist war of 1875 and ending during the Spanish Civil war of 1936. The film portrays how one single act of cowardice shapes the life of the next three generations of two families and fuels the intense rivalry which will span the next sixty-one years.Written by
If life itself is cyclical, the telling of it must be so, too. This is evident in films like `Los Amantes del Círculo Polar' (1998) (qv) and `Lucía y el Sexo' (2001) (qv), both seen a long way previously to `Vacas' which I have only just recently been able to see - and where better but on the Basque Channel (Euskal Telebista).
This story takes up over 60 years leading up to the eve of the Spanish Civil War in the high valleys and hills of Euskadi (Basque Country). Two rival families eke out a living. Highly charged with symbolisms - cows - and metaphorisms, as well as the ever-present rôle of Basque culture, such as the `aizkolari', the film proceeds unhurriedly through the years, unveiling an almost mysterious world of superstitions, envy and mistrust.
The cyclical effect of the film is enhanced by some of the main actors - Carmelo Gómez, for example - playing more than one character as the years go by, thus assuring that the spectator has to be on his toes and aware of how the film's story is progressing.
Good work here by Carmelo Gómez, and the rest of the cast is well up to Medem's demands. Superb photography by Carles Gusi, and as ever Alberto Iglesias' music is really good, mirroring well the scenery, its people and the story line. Well worth watching if you get the chance.
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