Skip to main content


Spain, 1996 (MIFF 1997, Made in Spain)

Director: Montxo Armendáriz Barrios

Part suspense, part getting of wisdom, Mon­txo Armendariz Barrios's film takes place in a Spanish village during the mid-60s. Victims of a terrible crime committed long ago haunt a coun­try house: their voices tremble through a locked room and echo in the cellar. So begins nine year old Javi's first brush with the other world.

Javi convinces his friend Carlos to accompany him on an investigation. Meanwhile, an eerie symmetry takes shape; Javi and brother Juan spend Easter at their aunts', the very house where their father's dead body was discovered. It too has a locked room. Intrigued by this enig­matic world, Javi will maintain his search for the mysteries that it conceals.

Barrios maintains a delicate tension as the action unfolds. An appealing character who holds our sympathies throughout, Javi is thrust into the adult world of lies and passion, love and death. Will the ghost of his father unburden him­self of long-interred secrets? How are the two mysteries intertwined? Poles apart from, for example, the trademark Flamboyance of country­man Almodovar or the anarchic surrealism of a Bunuel, Secrets of the Heart is another kind of Spanish delight.

See also...


Vicente Aranda's big-budget omnibus, center­ing on female soldiers during the Spanish Civil War, has all the winning ingredients: peren­nially controversial history, spellbinding visuals and ... More »


Angel, a soil fumigator with a personality dis­order, drives in his white van to a Martian-red landscape to rid the local vineyards of a persistent plague of woodlice. His unsettling habit of ... More »


Gloria becomes an alcoholic prostitute in Mexico after the maiming of her Toreador husband. Having been embroiled in a shootout between Mexican gangsters and police, she uses a stolen address book to ... More »


Victor Ventura is a wanna-be actor struggling for survival in a rapacious Madrid, a hapless Hugh Grant type whose earnest approach to life has thus far found him delivering more pizzas than lines ... More »


Having left Franco's Spain many years prior Elias, now returns to meet what remains of his family and to confront the present day reality of his long guarded and cherished memories. Correspondence ... More »


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 ... More »

Select a festival
Search The Film Archive
Browse By Director