Directed by Víctor Erice • 1983 • France, Spain
Starring Sonsoles Aranguren, Omero Antonutti, Aurora Clément
Ten years after making his mark on Spanish cinema with THE SPIRIT OF THE BEEHIVE, Víctor Erice returned to filmmaking with this adaptation of a novella by Adelaida García Morales, which deepens the director’s fascination with childhood, fantasy, and the legacy of his country’s civil war. In the North of Spain, Estrella grows up captivated by her father, a doctor with mystical powers—and by the enigma of his youth in the South, a near-mythical region whose secrets haunt Estrella more and more as time goes on. Though Erice’s original vision also encompassed a section set in the South itself, scenes that were never shot, EL SUR remains an experience of rare perfection and satisfaction, drawing on painterly cinematography by José Luis Alcaine to evoke the enchantments of memory and the inaccessible, inescapable mysteries of the past.