THE SKY TURNS (EL CIELO GIRA)
(director/writer: Mercedes Álvarez; screenwriter: Arturo Redin; cinematographer: Alberto Rodríguez; editors: Sol Lopez/ Laurent Dufreche/ Julia Juaniz/ Guadalupe Pérez García; cast:Peio Azketa, Hicham Chate, Cirilo Fernández, José Fernández, Josefa García; Runtime: 110; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: José María Lara; New Yorker Films; 2004-Spain-in Spanish with English subtitles)
“Elegiac documentary of one year in the life of the director’s hometown in her rural north Spain farming community.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Elegiac documentary of one year in the life of the director’s hometown, in her rural north Spain farming community. It never moved me as perhaps it should have. It’s written and directed by Mercedes Álvarez (“Futures Market”). The director concerns herself with the remaining old-timers in the village. Ms. Álvarez returns to her ancestral tiny village after 35 years. She left with her parents when she was 3, and is known as the last person born in the village. She offers a serene lyrical study on how things always change and that nothing remains forever. Her chats with the remaining 14 elderly locals is the film’s highlight. In the first half, Ms. Álvarez relates how out of touch with the modern world is her picture postcard town of Aldealseñor. The poor farmland and the abandoned central palace leave the impression of a dying community. Through archival photos we see Franco’s Fascists meeting in the town square and contrast that with present day tour guides taking visitors through the Roman ruins. The second half of the film gives way to future hope, as construction crews are busy putting up new sites such as turning the palace into a luxury hotel. The deserted village expects to be reborn to fit into the modern-world, as progress wipes out a traditional location.
REVIEWED ON 7/3/2016 GRADE: B-