Basque Country, 1609. The men of the region are at sea and Amaia takes part for the first time in the nightly dances in the woods with the other villager girls. She is only 20. At dawn, they... Read allBasque Country, 1609. The men of the region are at sea and Amaia takes part for the first time in the nightly dances in the woods with the other villager girls. She is only 20. At dawn, they are all arrested.Basque Country, 1609. The men of the region are at sea and Amaia takes part for the first time in the nightly dances in the woods with the other villager girls. She is only 20. At dawn, they are all arrested.
Akelarre (Coven) -recent winner of five Goya awards- constitutes a powerful and lucid chronicle of the macho and misogynistic religious fanaticism of the Spanish Catholic Inquisition, of how it "adapted" reality to its prejudices, and does not hesitate to stage its comic stupidity at times , imposing an unexpected twist on the story and projecting all these towards the political present in an eloquent way but never underlined thanks to its realistic register and with a great staging.
At the beginning of the 17th century, a group of inquisitors led by the investigating judge Rostegui (Alex Brendemühl, Dr. Mengele de Wakolda) and his Counselor (Daniel Fanego) arrived at a fishing village in the Basque Country (just one stopover in their disastrous journey ) and arrests and tortures a group of young adolescents accusing them of witchcraft, in a typical case of the investigation processes carried out by the Spanish Inquisition.
The approach that the Argentine director (and co-writer) Pablo Agüero makes of this historical event is very rich, with its multiple dimensions projected onto the present.
In the first place, the inquisitive duo, which combines the religious fanaticism of the investigating judge with the skeptical bureaucratic coldness of the counselor. The way in which Rostegui interprets and "adapted" reality to his prejudices in the interrogations, the ridiculous syllogisms of the dialectic in which both are sometimes trapped, have a powerful and current political resonance. And his timely quotes from the mystical poetry of Santa Teresa de Ávila are an eloquent reminder of the undeniable sexual charge that underlies.
The group of adolescents, accused of participating in a Sabbath (that one) -that is, a black mass to worship Lucifer- for the simple fact of dancing in the forest, is described and acts with an adequate anachronistic register or if you want timeless.
The girls, led by Ana (notably Amalia Aberasturi), somehow little contaminated by the dominant macho and misogynistic culture, display a totally rational spontaneity and put it into play to face the judgment of the inquisitors, imposing at a certain moment a turn to the gloomy of the story by exposing and taking advantage of the comic stupidity of all fanaticism.
The harsh scenes of captivity, interrogations and torture are absolutely current and at the same time, in a round trip, they impose the stamp of "medieval" on all the authoritarianism, fundamentalism and political abuse that followed later.
The period reconstruction and staging, with strong pictorial chiaroscuro that refer to Goya are very successful, as well as the music and songs that the prisoners sing at times are overwhelming. Special mention for the use of the off-field, which particularly in a scene, constitutes a great decision.
- Mar 14, 2021