SUMMER 1993 (ESTIU 1993)

(director/writer: Carla Simon; screenwriter: Valentins Viso; cinematographer: Santiago Racaj; editors: Ana Pfaff, Dídac Palou; music: Ernst Pipó/Pau Boïgues ; cast: Laia Artigas, (Frida), Paula Robles (Anna), Bruna Cusí (Marga), David Verdaguer (Esteve), Fermí Reixach (Avi), Montse Sanz (Lola), Isabel Rocatti (Avia, grandma), Berta Pipó (Tieta Àngela), Etna Campillo (Irene), Paula Blanco (Cesca), Quimet Pla (Gabriel); Runtime: 97; MPAA Rating: NR; producers: Valérie Delpierre, Maria Zamora; Oscilloscope; 2017-Spain-in Spanish with English subtitles)

The cast was superb, but the children were phenomenal.

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

It’s the Catalan filmmaker, a London Film School graduate, Carla Simon‘s feature directorial debut. She tells a warm autobiographical story and co-writes the screenplay with Valentins Viso.

After her mom dies of a mysterious illness (not mentioned, believed to be AIDS) in the summer of 1993. the spoiled Frida (Laia Artigas), a 6-year-old girl, leaves her mom’s Barcelona apartment and her grandparents (Fermí Reixach & Isabel Rocatti) to live in the country with her uncle Esteve (David Verdaguer) and aunt Marga (Bruna Cusí) and their sweet 3-year-old daughter Anna (Paula Robles). Her new surroundings are in the mountains in an old stone farmhouse located by a dense forest. Frida’s new parents are caring and Anna is a friendly playmate, but the uprooted child is afraid of the change, fears not being loved and is sad. Taking advantage of her nice new parents she acts bratty and misbehaves, and even endangers Anna’s life in a few cases. It takes the summer for Frida to slowly adjust in this coming-of-age personal film, that hits no false notes and because of its sincerity and tenderness its intimate tale of a child in need of growing up fast makes for a good watch. The cast was superb, but the children were phenomenal.It was the winner of the debut prize at the Berlinale.

REVIEWED ON 12/24/2017 GRADE: B+