‘For me, every spectator is a potential filmmaker and, of course, without the spectator, the films would have no meaning, no reasons to be.’ – Victor Erice
‘Few films have had greater impact all over the world. But I would advice you not to take it seriously’, advised the man on screen to the audience. It’s 1940 and they’re showing James Whale’s ‘Frankenstein’ to the stunned audience in a small countryside
. However the advice did make the sense to mature audience, it did greater impact to the mind of six years old innocent and quiet Ana who went with her younger sister to watch the film in old ruined building used as cinema hall. village of Spain
Director Victor Erice’s this debut film takes 20 minutes to establish and introduce the isolated existence of disintegrated family surviving under one roof. It involves the audience to observe without any preconceived notions. However most of the film is focused on the character of the youngest family member- Ana. She’s shy and innocent and at the same time so curious and serious about things. Opposite to her is the elder sibling Isabel who’s quite mature and smart. The parents are lost in their own detached world; the father absorbed his days in tending and exploring the beehive and the mother lost in her memories of distant lover to whom she writes letters. The closest to Ana is her elder sister Isabel who though helpful didn’t miss a chance to play with her innocent sister’s gullibility.
I haven’t seen such nuanced, contemplative and sublime portrayal of childhood fascination, impressions and its effects on child’s repressed mind in any of the films so far. The monster of the film unsettled Ana. When told by her sister that it’s spirit who can’t die, it made everlasting impression to inquisitive and innocent Ana. She started searching the spirit in the well and in the abandoned barn as directed by her sister until finally she starts talking to the spirit of wind under mysterious circumstance.
The film is absolutely a visual piece of art. Camera whether in still or moving gives us time to observe, frames so elusive and poetic that it made us feel and contemplate like painting. The minimalist approach and stillness of images remind me the purity of Bresson or Tarkovsky’s cinema. The image beautifully corresponds to it’s soothing background score. The film absolutely unforgettable experience for me and though it seems exaggerating I must say that I’m so suck into the film that I don’t think any other film will do impact to me for atleast few days.