DIRECTOR: CARLA SIMON STARRING: JORDI PUJOL DOLCET, ANNA OTIN, XENIA ROSET RUNNING TIME: 2 HRS 0 MINUTES
The life of a family of peach farmers in a small village in Catalonia changes when the owner of their large estate dies and his lifetime heir decides to sell the land, suddenly threatening their livelihood.
“I don’t sing for my voice. A clear sky or a sea breeze. I sing for my land.“
The latest submission for Spain is Alcarras, directed by Carla Simon. It follows a family of peach farmers in Lleida, a small city in Catalonia. Their home is a dream for anyone wanting to live far away from the city. There’s nothing but trees, and hills, and greenery. Their land goes on for miles and miles and miles. Day in and day out, the kids play in the fields, while Quimet, the father, and their other family members harvest peaches. It’s the only way of life they’ve known. They love what they do. And they’re super happy with the life they’ve created for themselves. This is their world.
The three generational household is a super close, tight-knit, loving family but their world is about to come crashing down.
Quimet has received word from the landowner, the Pinyol family, that they have to leave by the end of the summer. Quimet owns the house, but the land was given to them by word-of-mouth during the war, as Quimet’s grandfather saved the lives of the Pinyol family. But without a contract, the “rightful” owner wants to setup solar panels rather than a peach farm. And there’s no use owning a house when they can’t farm the land.
The fate of the family now rests on their decision to fight for the land, to leave the land, or to re-start and adapt their lives.
Director and writer Carla Simon has created a slow-paced, beautiful and yet devastatingly hard to watch film. The entire cast are non-professionals yet they’re able to convey a perfect family dynamic that makes us fall in love with them. The cast consists of three generations and they’re what makes the film succeed. Watching the complete deconstruction of a family unit is heartbreaking, as their world falls apart. The abrupt ending of the film is perfection, as is the final image. It is excellent, haunting, anti-climatic. And it leaves the viewer wondering what will happen to them in the future, as the fate of Alcarras farmers are all being jeopardized.