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El sur1983

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  • 4.1
  • passes the bechdel test
Victor Erice received widespread praise for his 1973 film SPIRIT OF THE BEEHIVE, which told of post-civil war Spain through the eyes of children. But those who have seen EL SUR (which didn't get nearly as much exposure owing to money problems and disagreements with the producer) usually say that it is the greater movie. The tale of a girl in a northern Spanish village and her fantasies about a mystical and wonderful place in "the south" resounds with echoes of a nation finding its way in the wake of four decades of fascist rule.

Member Reviews (3)

An incomplete film, really, which is unfortunate. The proposed and non-existent second half would bring about a sense of closure to so many loose threads left at the conclusion of this film. There are moments of extreme intimacy in this film, with the cinematography carrying a Velazquez-esque chiaroscuro and stark color changes. However, the pacing can be really tedious at times, and with no pay-off, it can be hard to glean something valuable from this film. However, the symbolism behind the film is unavoidable and beautiful. Estrella's struggles to understand her father are akin to the new-born Spain trying to fathom the previous years of hardship that it had endured. Also, the audio mixing is very odd, as the music (whether within the film or in the score) is blaringly loud in comparison to the dialogue, which is basically unhearable in comparison.

1 member likes this review
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top reviewer

this film has so many secrets_it should have been called Estrella she (both of her) is the film_it's all a bit ponderous & indeed really melancholy_i'm always sad & i don't know why

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top reviewer

Pacific Film Archive 31 July 2015 Victor Erice appeared in person for this screening. He spoke extensively about the second half of the film, which was never made, in which Estrella goes to Andalucia, and meets Irene Rios. This film is so beautiful to look at, the use of light so eloquent in every frame, that I could hardly bear to look at the subtitles. Sweet, sublime, mystical and melancholy.