Spain, 2010, 108 min
In the dark days following the Spanish Civil War, a young boy, Andreu, witnesses the murder of another boy and his father in a Catalan forest by a mysterious hooded figure. His trauma is complete when his own father, Farriol, is accused of the crime. An air of vengeful politics lurks behind the accusation, since the village officials are the victorious fascists and Andreu’s parents vanquished Republicans. Farriol goes underground to hide from the police, forcing the boy’s exhausted mother, Florència, to work extra hours in a run-down factory just so they can survive. Andreu is sent to live with relatives, his whole life turned upside down. With his cousin Núria, he sets out to find the real killers. But the dark forests of Spain hide many secrets, and the truths he uncovers are far from comforting. Andreu, struggling with a reality that is in contradiction with his deepest beliefs and emotions, turns into someone he never wanted to be. This story of moral contradictions and imperfect heroes triumphed at the 2010 Goya Awards, walking away with nine prizes including top film and director. Nora Navas, who plays Andreu’s mother, took the best actress honor and the two child actors, Francesc Colomer (Andreu) and Marina Comas (Núria), won for most promising performances. It is the first Catalonian film to win so much acclaim, and no film has so richly explored this twisted gothic underworld since Guillermo del Toro’s Pan’s Labyrinth (2006).
In Catalan with subtitles.