Director: Agusti Villaronga
Cast: Bruno Bergonzini, Roger Casamajor, Antonia Torrens, Angela Molina
Running time: 107 mins
As children during the Spanish Civil War, Andreu Ramallo, Manuel Tur and their friend Francisca already live in a world of political assassinations and a resultant atmosphere of hatred and suspicion between adults and children. On one decisive day, their lives are irrevocably affected when they witness the vengeful slaying of one child by another, provoked by adult political intrigue. The tragedy marks the children, who silently carry the secret into their adulthood. Years later, the three meet again as young adults, again in dire circumstances.
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Ramallo and Manuel have both been admitted to a hospital for the care of tuberculosis. They find Francisca there, now a nun working as a hospital nurse for the afflicted patients, many of them gravely ill. Having so far averted the worst ravages of this epidemic, Ramallo and Manuel face other torments in their close quarters.
Ramallo, who has spent many of his growing years as an underground assistant and sometime sex partner to a middle-aged drug runner, chafes under the attentions of the callous older man, even now in the hospital, and seeks release from this exploitative relationship.
sEnsitive Manuel has sought solace from past and present horrors in an intense, religious devotion that subsumes his repressed sexual desires, especially those he furtively harbours for his old friend, Ramallo. Only Francisca knows the darkest secrets her friends harbour, and only to God can she confess these.
With a shared, desperate desire to outrun the hazards and sorrows of their young lives, the three protagonists turn their eyes and their efforts toward anything that seemingly offers deliverance, setting up moments of lyrical tenderness and collisions of cataclysmic impact.
Director Agustin Villaronga authentically invests this strange, beautiful story with an edgy intensity, such as only isolated, hungry souls know. Featuring enthralling performances, and superbly atmospheric cinematography and sound, the film compellingly evokes that sense of a bright horizon somewhere off-screen, which keeps its characters looking upward in hope.
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