A fight over the calf of a prize milk cow in the close-knit and traditional Pas Valley of Cantabria leaves a cantankerous dairy farmer dead and another fearful of arrest. He and his ...
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A fight over the calf of a prize milk cow in the close-knit and traditional Pas Valley of Cantabria leaves a cantankerous dairy farmer dead and another fearful of arrest. He and his daughter Val conspire to keep the cause of death quiet, but tensions mount when Val becomes attracted to the dead farmer's son, Rai, estranged from his father and now a hairdresser in the city. The tensions open long-festering family resentments and spur the lurid imagination of Val's younger sister, the teen Genia. "What goes unsaid, gets undone," the Pasiegos say, but is it true? Is there harm in staying silent? Written by
Director Manuel Gutierrez Aragon presents a rural drama that takes place in the mountains of Cantabria, in Northern Spain. This film, part of the annual presentation of Spanish cinema, is a picture with a lot of ambition. Were it not for this festival, Spanish films, such as this one, would not have been seen in this city because this type of cinema is not commercial and there is no market for it.
On the one hand, the movie shows the hard life these peasants lead in a remote and desolate region. Also, the director wants to make a statement about how progress in the country, being now part of the European Community, penalizes the small farmers that have eked a life from their cows and agriculture for ages.
If you haven't seen the film, please stop reading now.
The new developments in the country wreak havoc for Gildo, and his neighbor Severo. Both men are the victims of a system that condemns them both for producing more milk than it's allowed by the ECU. They don't see eye to eye; there is resentment and bad blood between them. When Gildo sends a young calf to his neighbor, Severo takes offense, taking his daughter Val prisoner, against her will, for nothing this young woman has done. There is confrontation between Severo, Val and Gildo, in which the first one dies.
This brings Rai, the estranged son of Severo back to the funeral and to put his father's things in order before returning to the small town, where he works as a hair dresser. Rai falls for Val, but the fact remains that this son, as well as the rest of the town, feels that Celso killed Severo. Rai falls hard for Val. Their romance goes against Gildo's wishes who feels the young man will see who the real culprit is.
The movie is more approachable than some of the other movies of this director, who can please an audience, as well as repulse the viewer.
Juan Diego is Gildo, who is totally convincing as Gildo. The young actress Marta Etura, is Val, the daughter who must work with the father to make a go of their meager existence. Ms. Etura bears an uncanny resemblance to Holly Hunter. Luis Tosar is Rai, who gives a controlled performance.
The views of the hills of Cantabria is breathtaking. The green mountains come alive in this movie. Mr. Gutierrez Aragon gives us a slice of life among these peasants whose lives have not changed for centuries.
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