Spain, 2009, 128 minutes, Colour.
Joxean Bengoetxia, Christian Esquivel.
Directed by Roberto Caston.
Life on a farm in the Basque country, details of life and work, but a look deeper at lives and relationships.
Ander (Josean Bengoetxea) is a middle-aged man, living with his stern mother and his sister who is about to be married. He is a lonely man, hard working. He joins his friend and neighbour, Pero, in resorting to Reme (Mamen Rivera), a deserted mother with a son who serves as a local prostitute.
The film is slowly-paced and rather long and uses a social realist style.
Matters change when Ander breaks a bone in his leg and the family have to hire a young Peruvian Jose (Cristhian Esquivel) to help out. This leads to an emotional crisis for Ander and his awareness of his sexual identity, a man who is reluctant and angry. It is the long-suffering Reme who acts as a kindly mediator for Ander to come to terms with the truth.
Set in beautiful mountain scenery, with no musical score (except when the radio is turned on), the film requires patient and understanding viewing.
1.Spanish rural life? Social observation? Realism? Themes?
2.The mountain scenery, the peaks, the valleys, the farms, the herds? Homes? Towns? The musical score?
3.Issues of identity, relationships, orientations, judgments?
4.Ander and his age, his hard work, getting up in the morning, the routines, his mother, sister, breakfast, home life, driving to the factory, the work at the factory, getting off, going to the herds, sitting under the tree, listening to the radio? His friend and neighbour, going to visit Reme? The sexual outlet? Life continuing?
5.His mother, her age, her routines, cooking, her friend coming to visit for the meal, Ander later asking about his paternity? His sister, the preparations for the wedding? Her husband-to-be as a good friend? Helping in finding someone to work the farm?
6.The accident, his mother sending his sister out, her finding him, getting help from the friend, hospital, the difficulties, the need to find a worker for the farm?
7.The brother-in-law and his suggesting Jose? His Peruvian background, migrating to Spain, family in the city? His being called an Indian? His polite manner? Ander’s mother and her nasty attitude towards him? His work, efficiency? In his room, the photo with his friend? His going to Reme’s place with the others, holding back? His observing?
8.Ander and Jose and the bond, comfortable with each other, the work together, dependence, Ander shielding him from his mother? Reme and the friendship? Jose and his reliability, care for Ander? The wedding, the wedding breakfast, the incident in the toilet? Ander’s reaction? Being sick? The effect on him?
9.His mother’s death, the impact? His sister and her husband and their care? Concern for the future? The sister helping out with meals? Ander and his moodiness?
10.Ander upset, not coping, the meals, wanting to get rid of Jose?
11.Jose continuing his work, the questions about his future?
12.Reme, her life, her child, her husband leaving, the phone call, his not coming back? The visit to Ander, talking things over with him, the shared experiences, his invitation for her to stay? Her being the mediator for him to understand himself and Jose?
13.The household, settling down, the aftermath of Ander’s crisis, living with Jose, a future?