I saw this film at the 2005 Toronto International Film Festival.
Obaba is loosely based on Bernardo Axtaga's collection of short stories "Obabakoak", which won Spain's National Prize for Literature. Set in a fictional Basque town, Obaba follows Lourdes (Bárbara Lennie), a film student who has come to tape the town for a school project. She is soon drawn to some of the stories of the residents, all of which are told in flashbacks. These stories help Lourdes to understand the town, its people, and its secrets.
Montxo Armendáriz, who wrote the screenplay and also directed, has put together a fine film that blends the past and the present. Rather than use Lourdes simply as a device for prompting the villagers to tell their stories, she is an integral part of the movie. Lourdes is intrigued by the tales and the town's superstitions, and she soon begins to wonder if she has been caught up in and affected by it all. However, the film takes only a few of the stories from Axtaga's collection, and any political overtones don't seem to be present. The movie takes a more realistic tone and lacks any fantastical elements other than the mysterious blue-green lizards that seem to be indigenous to the area.
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