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Cria cuervos

Carlos Saura
Cría cuervos
Spain 1976 / 110’

Ana (Ana Torrent) and her two sisters are orphaned and -along with their senile grandmother- placed under the care of a stern aunt who introduces strict new rules into their lives. When it comes to dealing with their grief, however, these rules are of no help. Just the opposite, rather. Ana begins to see visions of her mother's (Geraldine Chaplin) spirit, as well as images of her parents' not-so-rosy past. Drowning in memories and dreams, she becomes increasingly fascinated with death. "Raise ravens, and they'll take out your eyes," says the Spanish proverb that provided the title of Carlos Saura's extraordinary film. In a style that can be described as the poetry of sleep, the film explores not only the mechanism of childhood trauma and grief during the complicated period of adolescence, it is also a metaphor for violent relations under the dictatorial rule of General Franco in Spain. Its richness of meaning is why Cría Cuervos remains one of most important works by Saura and 1970s European art-house cinema.

Adam Kruk


Cannes IFF 1976 - Special Jury Prize

Carlos Saura

Born in Aragon, Carlos Saura comes from a family with rich artistic traditions (his mother was a pianist and his brother a painter), a fact that had an impact on Saura's interests and erudition. He completed his studies in Film Direction in 1957 in Madrid-where he also studied Engineering and Journalism-with the documentary La tarde del domingo (Sunday Afternoon). Then, combining the traditions of documentary and feature films, he made The Delinquents, and his 1966 film The Hunt launched a nearly 20-year period of collaboration with producer Elías Querejeta, which provided him with relative creative freedom under the dictatorship of General Franco. During this period, Saura primarily made psychological and family dramas that were camouflaged in how they related to the political situation on the Iberian Peninsula. Marked by lyricism and dream states and drawing on Spanish literature (Calderon, Sender, Lorca) and painting (Ribeiro, Murillo, Goya), Saura's films are highly original auteur works. Saura is also a master of dance and musical films, examples of which include his operatic Salome and Carmen and his ballet starring Cristina Hojos and Antonio Gades, Blood Wedding.

Selected filmography

1959 Los golfos / The Delinquents

1966 Polowanie / La caza / The Hunt

1973 Anna i wilki / Ana y los lobos / Anna and the Wolves

1982 Słodkie godziny / Dulces horas / Sweet Hours

1998 Tango

2009 Ja, Don Giovanni / Io, Don Giovani / I, Don Giovanni

Cast & Crew

director Carlos Saura
screenplay Carlos Saura
cinematography Teo Escamilla
editing Pablo G. del Amo
music Federico Mompou, José Luis Perales
cast Ana Torrent, Geraldine Chaplin, Mónica Randall, Héctor Alterio, Florinda Chico
producer Elías Querejeta, Pedro El Samu
production Elías Querejeta Producciones Cinematográficas
sales Tamasa Distribution
language Spanish
colouration colour