Finding Altamira (2016) Poster

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A not true history.
jfseyllier2 April 2016
The man who discovered the Altamira Caves was a shepherd named Modesto Cubillas.

The person who the film says is the discoverer, Marcelino Saenz de Sautola is only the owner of the land but the film insists on giving all the importance to this man. Do you know why?

The family Botin & Sainz de Sautuola is one of the most powerful families in Spain (owners of Santander Bank), they are creepy aristocrats who want to honor his ancestor with a lie. The family Botin & Sainz de Sautuola are who sponsor the film. Poor Modesto Cubillas, you were "only" a shepherd with no money.
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Great Movie
tibet10-115 October 2016
I give this movie full marks. It may not be Lawrence of Arabia or a block buster but it is fine cinema nevertheless. For what the producers did with their budget and the location and interior shots - they did very well. One reviewer remarked that the movie did not credit the true discoverer of the cave. However if you watch carefully it is clear that credit is given to the huntsman who actually did find the entrance in 1858.

I enjoyed the production thoroughly. this is the perfect movie for those who enjoy historical drama. Well paced with great photography and great location sets. I have family in the film industry living in Hollywood and it is often a great battle between the corporate financiers who want as much sex and nudity with blond bimbos to boost sales and are constantly ruining potentially good cinema by inserting complete dross into otherwise good scripts. Good cinema is becoming rare. Someone has taken a punt on this movie and my bet is that it won't rake in millions - but it gets my vote and I loved it.

In May 2017 I will be visiting Altamira and will remember this movie and certainly want to read more about its discovery. Chris Lachman, Adelaide, Australia
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Finding Truth
rutzelb28 October 2016
Warning: Spoilers
Based upon a true story

1879 in Spain, Marcelino (Antonio Banderas) discovers a cave that contains drawings from the Paleolithic Era (Stone Age). Of course, this claim is disputed as a forgery by the main Council of Anthropologists, the Catholic Church that criticized Marcelino for his scientific not religious views, the press that prints he is unfit to be a father and worse of all by Conchita (Golshifteh Farahani) his wife who sides with the Church. Most believed that the cavemen did not have the intellectual capacity to perform the drawings.

Marcelino stands his ground although he is thoroughly humiliated. His 9-year old daughter Maria (Allegra Allen) who was the one who actually discovered the cave drawings of bisons stands by him. Marcelino determines how the cavemen did the drawings in a dark cave without putting soot on the ceilings. But he could not figure out why the walls showed bisons when no bison bones were ever found in the area. (The movie didn't address this either)

I really liked the Confessional Scene between Conchita and the head priest when she tells him off really good and defends her husband . (Hey, I cheered when she did this) She came around when she learned how the Cavemen did the drawings without putting soot on the cave ceilings and then she tells Marcelino she wants to see the cave. It must have been her belief in him that mattered the most to Marcelino. And it should have.

Marcelino learned that finding the truth isn't all that easy. After Marcelino's death, his chief critic, Emile Cartailhac (Clement Sibony), admitted his mistake and issued an apology in the main Anthropologic magazine.

The acting all around is good, but when everyone spoke with a Spanish accent it was sometimes difficult to understand all dialogues, but we got the idea eventually. The young Maria was the only one who spoke clearly without any accent. (You go girl!)

Go to Wikipedia to learn more about these famous Altamira drawings from the Paleolithic Era. Wikipedia says some of the drawings in that cave go back 35,000+ years. (7/10)

Violence: No. Sex: No. Nudity: No. Language: No.
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an effort to restore proper credit to a mans unselfish efforts
mgwilcox27 May 2016
Pablo makes a fair point . But it was the family who owned the property that tried in vane to share this great discovery with the world and condemned as a fraud. As with anything discovery is not the be all and end all. A far more significant

point to this story is about is the efforts to share this magnificent artifact with the world in the face of complete skepticism. Yes a shepherd / hunter found it but the journey is in getting people to understand the value in the history of mankind amid claims of fraud. This is an effort to view the far bigger picture the efforts to learn human history and just how relevant this find was relating to preserving a chapter in early mankind's history. the effort to share with the world is the story .pablo is looking through a more political lens. But at the time it seems few other than a determined landowner cared about the historical value . His efforts saved these magnificent artifacts bring attention to the story of mankind's history
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An original, self-taught scientist stands against the world in the name of Truth
talboldo-733093 February 2017
Like the trailer, which soars with a sense of greatness, this is a beautiful film that stayed with me, and keeps recurring to my mind weeks later. No spoilers in this review, I'll just recommend the story to original thinkers who know how hard it is to stand against the crowd and state the truth, because it is the truth. And to keep faith with yourself--against the universe if need be.

If you are religious and worry that this story will attack your love of God, I don't think that will happen. If you believe that God created existence; then exploring this beauty cannot be a threat to God. If you hold no beliefs but rely on reason to understand the world around you, then you will revere Marcelino de Sautuola's courage, vision and unbending spirit.

I take away his story to stay with me as I walk through life.
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Beautifully Photographed Lesson in Art History
lavatch27 September 2016
Warning: Spoilers
Pablo Picasso wrote that "after Altamira, all is decadence - we have invented nothing." This fascinating and aesthetically splendid film tells the story of the discovery of one of the earliest works of art of mankind, the famous Paleolithic cave paintings of animals, the so-called Cave of Altamira near the town of Santillana del Mar and west of Santander in Cantabria, Spain.

Antonio Banderas is outstanding as the impassioned "amateur" scientist responsible for alerting the world to the transcendent discovery of the caves, initially found by a dog and a shepherd who stumbled across the opening. Banderas plays the role of Marcelino Sanz de Sautuola y de la Pedrueca, who, along with his eight-year-old daughter, Maria, first recognized the significance of the mysterious wall paintings. The film starts in 1878 in Cantabria and ends in 1902, the date when the wall paintings were formally acknowledged as authentic.

The film tells the story of the struggle and humiliation of Sautuola, who faced hostility from both the church and the recidivist scientists, who refused to believe that the magnificent paintings could have been executed by artists around the year 10,000 B.C.E.

It turns out that paintings may have belonged to the Aurignacian culture, 35,600 years ago. Sautuola carefully analyzed the evidence and came to realize the significance of the find. The film effectively develops the family drama, focusing on the resistance of Sautuola's wife, Conchita, who finally comes around to believing in the theory of her husband. Conchita also takes a strong stand against the local Monsignor, who nearly invokes the Spanish Inquisition in his attempt to consign Sautuola to hell for his scientific views.

"Altamira" was directed by Hugh Hudson, the filmmaker who produced one of the most beautifully shot films of the previous century, "Chariots of Fire." "Altamira" has the same polished look with breathtaking scenes of the countryside in Northern Spain.

This film could have been a dry "history channel" dramatization. Instead, it is a superbly crafted and aesthetically brilliant feature film, one that is not to be missed for lovers of art and culture.
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Beautiful and captivating
garcianc200326 March 2017
Beyond some controversy in the history behind the story, Finding Altamira is, in its own right, a find worthy of celebration.

The cinematography of Jose Luis Alcaine is amazing. One could take almost any frame in this film and hang it on a wall as a work of art. I could have watched this film in mute and enjoyed just the visual majesty of every scene.

After doing work in films like the Spy Kids franchise, Antonio Banderas is developing a reputation, in my mind, as a recognizable actor who brings attention to otherwise obscure movies, not to drive up the budget, but to elevate attention to the art. I would have never watched Automata, had I not been wondering what Antonio Banderas was doing in that movie; only to be wonderfully surprised again. In this movie, I would say that his acting was adequate, but once again, after the Automata experience, I decided to give the movie a chance. I am so glad I did.

My favorite scenes were those involving Rupert Everett (Monsinor) and Golshifteh Farahani (Conchita). The cinematography was almost like watching an oil painting, with barely any movement, yet the tension and intensity of every scene was incredible. Was it sexual? Was it a power struggle? Was is a tug-of-war of morality? I could have watched them all day.

The little girl in the film, Allegra Allen (Maria), as most child actors tend to be, is just too precocious in this movie and the character almost did not work for me. In my opinion, the point of view of the story shifted too much from the child in the beginning, the father in the middle, and the mother at the end. I believe the story would have been better served if the arc of Conchita's story would have remained the focus throughout.

There was an "affair of the heart" storyline which was totally unnecessary, in my opinion, and only included to generate more scenes and conflict for secondary actors. I believe the movie would have been just fine without diving into that part of the story and leaving it as wistful glances between two characters.

The story, whether parts are true or fictionalized, is simple enough and I would suggest, secondary to this film.

You should watch this movie if only for watching how beautiful the craft of movie making can be.
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History and science meet a too drawn out dramatic narrative
alanpgini22 December 2016
I gave this a seven, because of the historical importance of the Altamira cave paintings. But as film itself goes, it rates a 6. History saves this film. The depiction of the work of the paleolithic art is accurate, though somewhat blurred in its depiction. The background of this film was too drawn out however, to allow for a better rating. It steers to closely to a Hallmark movie, rather than a dramatic historic narrative. To me, when actual historic dialog is lacking, as little as possible should be added to fill in the blanks. I almost stopped watching it due to the tedium of the dialogue. The acting was good. It was probably Banderas's best work since the 13th warrior. He was very believable in the role of Marcelino Sanz de Sautuola. Though his accent still detracts from his performance, even in a Spanish role. Rupert Everett shows once again his great talent. It is sad that his attitude has led to the downfall of his career. The other character actors were somewhat bland but acceptable. As it is the case with any historical film, that teaches as well as entertains, the audience and mankind can only benefit. A must watch for amateur historians.
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Atractive and agreeable biopic about Marcelino Sanz de Sautuola or Marcelino de Sautuola who dicovered the famous caves
ma-cortes9 January 2018
Marcelino de Sautuola (Antonio Banderas) was a Spanish jurist and amateur archaeologist who owned the land where the Altamira cave was found . As his daughter Maria (as little girl : Allegra Allen and grown-up : Irene Escolar) , nine years old at the time, incidentally noticed that the ceiling was covered by images of bisons . Sautuola then started exploring the caves in 1875. He did not become aware of the paintings, however, until 1879, when Sautuola, having seen similar images engraved on Paleolithic objects displayed at the World Exposition in Paris the year before, rightly assumed that the paintings might also date from the Stone Age. Attempting to expose their discovery to the academic world for that they study the paintings , but he failed . Looking for the truth, Sautuola was the rest of his life fighting to prove that those paintings were real, attempting to restore his innocence from the accusations of falsehood launched against him by scientists , historians , geographers and priests (Rupert Everett) . As Marcelino , his wife Conchita (Golshifteh Farahani) and daugther (later she married into the Botín family of Cantabrian bourgeoisie, the current owners of Banco Santander are Sautuola's descendants) suffering distresses and unfortunes trying to demonstrate the reality of the fabulous paintings .The Altamira cave, now famous for its unique collection of prehistoric art, was well known to local people, but had not been given much attention until in 1868, when it was "discovered" .

Biography about existence and happenings of the man who realized one of the most important discoveries of the 19th : Altamira , Pateolithic paintings . As Marcelino Sanz de Sautuola y de la Pedrueca, in 1868, accidentally discovered Paleolithic paintings with the help of a hunter named Modesto Cubillas inside Altamira's caves, located in Cantabria, north to Spain . The flick concerns about confrontation between science and religion ; and between rationalism and faith . As Sautuola was panned and accused the paintings were made for the own Sautuola, in a effort to get richness . Dealing with his thunderous life when crashed against the skepticism and discredit of all scientists , geographers , and religious people , who claimed that the caves were false .

The picture displays an evocative and imaginative cinematography by José Luis Luis Alcaine who is deemed to be one of the best Spanish cameramen with a long and prestigious artistic career and Almodovar's ordinary cameraman , as he has photographed successes such as ¨Volver¨ , ¨The bad education¨ , ¨The skin I live in¨ , and ¨Women on the verge of a nervous breakdown¨ . He was first cinematographer to use fluorescent tube as "key" lightning in the 1970s . Jose Luis Alcaine thought a theory that the Frank Borzage movie A farewell to the arms (1932) after a story by Ernest Hemingway, was the main and total inspiration for Pablo Picasso in the creation of the "Guernica", one of the most important painting of the 20th century. He believes that several images of a sequence of 5 minutes long showing the exodus of countrymen and soldiers on an infernal rainy night was the inspiration of Pablo Picasso. Furthermore , a willingness almost perfect of the elements of each shot , every sequence , every space . Sensitive and rousing musical score by Mar Knopfler . The yarn was well directed by Hugh Hudson (Chariots of fire , Greystoke , I dreamed of Africa Irresistible, Revolution)

The picture is based on historical events about the discoverer of the Altamira paintings , these are the followings : Marcelino thanks to his daughter Maria , and the hunter Modesto discoverd the notorious caves . He therefore engaged an archaeologist from the University of Madrid to help him in his further work. Professor Juan Vilanova y Piera supported Sautuola's assumptions, and they published their results in 1880, to much public acclaim. But the scientific society was reluctant to accept the presumed antiquity of the paintings . The French specialists, led by their guru Gabriel de Mortillet, were particularly adamant in rejecting the hypothesis of Sautuola and Piera and their findings were loudly ridiculed at the 1880 Prehistorical Congress in Lisbon. Due to the supreme artistic quality, and the exceptional state of conservation of the paintings, Sautuola was even accused of forgery. A fellow countryman maintained that the paintings had been produced by a contemporary artist, on Sautuola's orders.It was not until 1902, when several other findings of prehistoric paintings had served to render the hypothesis of the extreme antiquity of the Altamira-paintings less shocking (and forgery less likely), that the scientific society retracted their opposition to the Spaniards. That year, the towering French archaeologist Émile Cartailhac, who had been one of the leading critics, emphatically admitted his mistake in the famous article, "Mea culpa d'un sceptique", published in the journal L'Anthropologie.Sautuola had died 14 years earlier, and did not live to enjoy the restitution of his honour or the later scientific confirmation of his premonitions. Modern dating techniques have since confirmed that the paintings of the Altamira cave were created over extended periods between 11,000 and 19,000 years ago. For the study of Paleolithic art Sautuola's discoveries must now be considered pivotal.
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Good movie based on a lie
iliasalk6 June 2018
Movie deserves a 6 at least. Story is based on a complete distortion of the actual truth. Altamira caves were discovered by a shepherd/hunter. The film story is a fabrication of the rich Statuola family who sponsored the film, in order to falsely credit and "honor" their ancestor. Poor shepherd into oblivion, rich family takes the credit. So 1/10 from me, for hiding the truth and lying.
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Beautiful but flawed
elgratia2 March 2017
Warning: Spoilers
The film is gorgeous and is faithful in its location shoots. The actors are fantastic, particularly Banderas as Sanz de Sautuola, and I enjoyed the music.

Unfortunately however, the writers decided they wanted to take cheap-shots at religious people, by making his wife Conchita the stooge of a nefarious priest (is there any other kind in Hollywood?). She's upset because neolithic art of still extant Pleistocene mammals, is somehow anti-creationist (Yeah, I didn't get it either).

In real life Conchita had no problems with the Altamira cave art and supported her husband.

The actual controversy at the time was that the paint looked too fresh, and there wasn't any soot marks from torches. Many people initially suspected the images were forgeries because of those reasons, not because pictures of bison, horses and wild boar somehow frighten creationists.

It's too bad they stooped to defaming Conchita for the sake of unnecessary drama and cheap demagoguery. It knocks three stars off my review.
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Antonio Banderas is the main character!!!!!
virginializ11 March 2017
I am not sure why this actor's name is listed all the way down in the page as he is the main character... I am referring to Antonio Banderas; whoever created this page should correct this. Rupert Everett, who appears in the beginning, is actually playing a small part in this movie. I tried to fix it but by editing the page but couldn't do it. I hope to see this corrected in the future. It just makes no sense to me and I have seen similar mistakes in other movie pages.
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A very elaborate rendition of the Altamira findings but very subtle misses in storytelling..
abhishek-bose4 November 2016
Warning: Spoilers
I think Golshifteh Farahani.. has a mesmerising performance.. yet again.. with Antonio Banderas on a beautiful story on the cave paintings of Altamira in Cantabria, Spain.

The story is powerful and modest in rendition, at the same time, which is a very difficult trick to portray. The script in essence lacks a few fine knits which the story deserves causing fine misses in story weaving, not a big deal though as the cast as well as the entire production has made a brilliant attempt on a beautiful story focussing more on the discoverer and his perils of a very borderline orthodox society with ample light on the beautiful discovery as well.

Overall a great rendition by #HughHudson and the beautiful artists that painted a beautiful 19th century story with prolific and deep notes.
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confusing to those coming in with no prior knowledge
OneAnjel10 May 2019
I had virtually no knowledge of these caves and found the film to be geared toward those who either have some education about either the caves, or the modern obsession to discredit Christianity where facts are secondary. There seems to be no informational sentence or scene that gives credence to the idea that the caves somehow threaten the teachings of Adam and Eve, or Jesus. A quick search online only reveals that the paintings' authenticity and chronology are still in question where some experts agree that they may be authentic if they were created over a period of 20,000 years -- for those with college educations, I fear this is a sly way of stating the paintings are not ancient since the idea of the same artwork being performed over 20,000 yrs is ludicrous. I think the film tries to depict that time period well but clearly sides against the church, using real and beautiful doctrine but hoping it will sound controlling and even monstrous, and depicting the Priest as a controlling ogre. Christians already know you can never prove or disprove the existence of God with your limited mind. It's obvious to some and laughable to others. This film gave me no reason to keep watching, and after 40 min I am taking a break, indefinitely. But to those complaining that the hired hand is the one who discovered the cave and should be given credit, that's not how things work. The landowner is the rightful owner of anything found on his property; furthermore, the story indicates that the landowner asked him to look further for caves in that region. So he was not a discoverer, he was a paid archaeologists' assistant. Today, developers and researchers of all kinds continue to make discoveries and creations but their name is likely to be a tag-line under the mother company who they work for. Without the tools and payment from the employer (and access to the caves, in this case), they would not have made the discovery or invention.
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for child from us
Kirpianuscus8 February 2018
Real easy to critic it. for the not examplary respect for accuracy of story, for dialogues and for too obvious fight between Church and science. but it has a small significant virtue - it is the right film for the child inside us from the early history lessons, when the teacher spoke about Altamira and Lascaux. for this child, recognosible in the traits of the girl, "Finding Altamira" has virtues of magic. or late answer. the film is far to be great. but it is a decent one, with a good job of Antonio Banderas and Rupert Everett in a surprising role. sure, it could be better. but , maybe, another director and scriptwriter are more inspired.
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It is impossible to ask too many questions
nogodnomasters30 September 2017
Warning: Spoilers
This is the tale of Marcelino Sanz de Sautuola (Antonio Banderas) and his nine year old daughter Maria (Allegra Allen) who discovered the prehistoric paintings in "The Caves of Altamira". The discovery was initially proclaimed as monumental, but was then rejected by his peers as a forgery. The story opens with Maria as an adult and ends with her as adult when her humiliated father was publicly exonerated in "Mea culpa d'un sceptique" in 1902. It shows the church aggressively opposing any aspect of evolution and attempting to use the overly religious wife against her husband.

It's Antonio Banderas who always does an excellent job playing a Spaniard. The acting was good, but the drama, like real life was lacking at times. We see the church forcing the daughter to stand in the corner for comparing man's wrist bones to bats etc. We see confrontation with the church in debates and Sautuola in his own world. There are a few father-daughter scenes that could have been more touching and they needed to play the Steely Dan song during the credits.

I am a sucker for good history and biopic. Guide: No swearing, sex, or nudity.

On a side note astronomer Frank Edge claims the works are depictions of their view of the stars/constellations. From Art History Worlds: "Altamira Cave, Spain, 15,500 years ago: star pictures in a cave painting. Edge found another famous cave at the southern edge of Magdalenian territory, with a second mural that he correlated to the stars. While the Lascaux painting depicts just those constellations along the ecliptic, Altamira's is more ambitious in scope, with the cave wall organized to represent the entire visible night sky. Selected stars are depicted among all that would have appeared through the spring nights, from sunset to sunrise, from the horizon all the way up to the pole. Those closest to the Pole, the circumpolar stars that never set, are nicely arranged across the top of the mural. At the bottom are Scorpius, Leo and Taurus, the stars then seen along the horizon. The painting is dated at 13,500 B.C."
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Finding Altamira
theta3014 September 2018
Not sure why it has so poor ratings (I found this movie very solid), maybe the absence of a terrible hero. Or that its ending is not sweet-guess what -some scientific endeavors end tragic and are recognized late.

The movie does not cater to the PR themes that are abundant in European cinema-we see Marcelino being attacked by both creationist and evolutionist groups.

There is good deal of how a scientific exploration develops, a nice family story, human drama and all this is combined with great artistry. There are a number of bibliographical movies that, as if to dumb down its subject for the masses, end up in melodramatic mush (eg "Creation"). "Finding Altamira" is not like this.
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