Intimate to the point of privacy. So subtle & delicate in its handling of serious themes that the important events occur almost by happenstance; childhood trauma caught up in the greater flow of memories that run throughout. As a young woman looks back on an evocation of the past, the filmmakers tease out a whole tapestry of political history, familial relationships; with 'the South' itself as a yearning for escape.
This is my favorite Erice and one of the most shocking films I've ever seen. Watching El sur is like if Erice were showing me my childhood: as if he knew my father, as if he knew who I am, I can't imagine how this film could be better: it's just impossible. One of the best (Spanish) films of all time.
Erice has an incredible talent for using light when filming. This is a very pictorial movie, esthetically perfect. As regards structure and story-telling format, Erice seems to be influenced by Bergman, we can feel a huge distance in the characters and a beauty but cold atmosphere and all the scenes are imbued with a a strong pessimism in terms of family relationships.
In this I was hoping to find that mystery and magic that was in the other Erice film I've seen, The Spirit of the Beehive, but was mostly disappointed, as there was merely a trace of what that much better film had in spades. It still uses that perspective of childhood, but to a much less enthralling effect.
Once in a while there comes a time when one is given the opportunity to witness a special kind of other world with such a strong aura. This one deals with existentialism through the eyes of who once was a child and grew to be an individual who made their peace with life. Not all is said and it need not be - it is only important to understand what is given.
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.
Following Spirit of the beehive seems suicidal, but the beauty of Erice prevailed in the long run. Who the F cares that it's an incomplete film. Frankly, there is more fear, joy, discovery, sorrow in here than almost any so called finished films. The characters have been brought to life with such warmth that I wish all the more to be able to be there and to share the ups and downs of this family's life. MUST SEE