El Sur (The South)

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Total Count: 8


Audience Score

User Ratings: 811
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Movie Info

El Sur (The South) is the story of Estrella (Iciar Bollain), a little girl from Southern Spain who has been uprooted to the North. Estrella maintains a sentimentalized attachment to the region of her birth, an attachment manifested in her love for her father (Omero Antonutti). The girl's rose-colored memories are shattered when she learns that her beloved dad once carried on affair with a Southern woman-and that the flames of passion still smolder within him. This Spanish/Argentinian coproduction was filmed on location in Madrid, Navarre, Vittoria, and Zamora. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi


Critic Reviews for El Sur (The South)

All Critics (8) | Top Critics (3) | Fresh (8)

Audience Reviews for El Sur (The South)

  • Mar 03, 2014
    If <i>Cría Cuervos!</i> (1976) was <i>The Spirit of the Beehive</i>'s (1973) lost cousin, <i>El Sur</i> is her sister, and it took me time to find it. Now that I have, the discovery is precious to me. Again, a little girl is the protagonist, and the perspective taken is that of her young eyes, even if the voiceover belongs to Estrella's adult state. The narrator never talks about her present day feelings; on the contrary, she helps us to understand the mentality of her past self. Erice's rural settings have an immaculate power for illustrating a story of otherwordly nostalgic proportions. The scenarios are plagued by real and imagined recallings of the past, gray skies, dead trees, dark corridors, lost thoughts, thoughts recovered, thoughts discovered, feelings rediscovered, overdubbed actors (something that, instead of working against the film's quality from a technical point of view, accentuates the dreamlike tone of it all), and a heartfelt longing for what once was and may not be ever again in the future. And these scenarios take your breath away. Foreign and independent cinema of the 80s was rather contemplative in this sense, and few directors around the world managed to create such an impactful visual design so wonderfully (being the Turkish even better dark drama <i>Motherland Hotel</i> [1987] a standout), with slow fadeouts and shadows conquering the surroundings of the characters, be it a depressing-looking day or a haunting night with autumn trees, naked branches and an iconic road full of leaves. The film even approaches a literary stream-of-consciousness-like language with subtle poetic undertones to address the whole story with even more seriousness. The film feels familiar to the viewer's soul, and yet distant from our comprehension given the rhythm of our everyday lives, but Erice's heart is emptied into the project so much, that understanding the ideas behind a gem like this suddenly seems very easy. 95/100
    Edgar C Super Reviewer
  • Oct 11, 2011
    for the time being i will continue to write my thoughts on films here but i'm disturbed by the imminent changes/corporate bullshit so we'll see how long this lasts. victor erice made one of the finest films of the 70s, the acclaimed 'spirit of the beehive,' then took a break of nearly 10 years, only to return with another haunting masterpiece in 'el sur.' once again the story of a young girl's relationship with her emotionally distant and mysterious father unfolds magically. beautiful chiaroscuro lighting effects and playful references abound (note the many stars in the film echoing our protagonist's name, estrella). and once again erice uses the device of a film within a film in passing (in this case htichcock's 'shadow of a doubt'). originally meant to run 3 hours, the film was only half completed when funding dried up but it doesn't suffer for that: it's wonderful and more than deserves a remaster and proper dvd release
    Stella D Super Reviewer

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