Director: Carlos Saura
Once again, Carlos Saura returns to the Spanish Civil War and its effects upon his country's social and intellectual life. The protagonist, Luis, played by Jose Luis Lopez Vazquez, comes to Segovia from Barcelona, bringing his mother's remains to be re-buried there. He visits his aunt, whom he hasn't seen since the war, when his father left him in the care of his conservative relatives. The familiar surroundings rekindle memories of his childhood, and he relives the summer of 1936, just at the outbreak of the Civil War. Luis remains unchanged in age while the scenes and characters about him revert to 1936. He recalls a childhood romance with his cousin, Angelica, who is now married to a former Falangist. She has a child of her own, who is about the age she was in 1936. Luis remembers the Holy Week ceremonies; classroom scenes in which a priest puts the fear of hell into the children; the outbreak of war, and a rain of bombs on the small school, killing several children. He suffers again his childhood traumas, and discovers it is impossible to bring to life again his lost love.
'Jose Luis Lopez Vazquez sustains the director's audacious, if not quite successful, device of having him play himself as an adult in the childhood flashbacks, and the merging of Angelica, his first love, and her daughter now allows for some strange and disturbing erotic juxtapositions.' John Gillet
Bronze Hugo, Chicago. Jury Prize, Cannes