Posted in: 2000 Eyes, by Bruce Reid, Film Reviews

2000 Eyes: Dream of Light

[Written for The Stranger]

In 1973, the Spanish filmmaker Victor Erice announced himself as a major director with one of the great debuts in cinema, Spirit of the Beehive, a stunningly assured and poetic evocation of the fantasy of childhood, as well as a beautiful salute to James Whale’s Frankenstein. It took a decade for Erice’s second film, El Sur, to arrive; and his third, Dream of Light, didn’t come along until 1992. (To add to the frustration, Dream of Light languished for eight years without achieving distribution in the U.S., despite rapturous reports from every festival it played.) What qualities of patience, methodical self-confidence, and even-tempered humility must one possess to release only three films in as many decades without growing bitter or cynical about moviemaking? Precisely the same required to make a riveting, engrossing film about a man trying to paint a quince tree in his back yard.

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Posted in: Blu-ray, by Sean Axmaker, Contributors, Directors, DVD, Film Reviews

Blu-ray: ‘Tierra,’ ‘Vacas,’ ‘Red Squirrel’ – Three by Julio Medem

Olive Films
Olive Films

Vacas (Olive Films, Blu-ray, DVD)
Red Squirrel (Olive Films, Blu-ray, DVD)
Tierra (Olive Films, Blu-ray, DVD)

The vivid and lush films of Spain’s Julio Medem are as much about his country’s distinctive landscapes and natural wonders as they are about the restless and obsessive characters that wander through his world. Lovers of the Arctic Circle (1998) and Sex and Lucia (2001) established him as a major international filmmaker, earning strong reviews and American theatrical releases, but they only confirmed what his early films had established: a gift for narrative games and visual puns, and a passionate embrace of fate, fantasy, and the illogical power of love, all woven through criss-crossing stories with recurring images and motifs that intertwine, blur, and transform through time. Now Olive Films presents his first three features, long out of print on DVD, on Blu-ray for the first time along with new DVD editions.

The cows in the title of Spanish director Julio Medem’s debut film Vacas (Spain, 1992) are the silent, implacable witnesses to the feuds and flirtations of two clans between the Carlist Wars of 1875 and the devastating Spanish Civil War in 1936.

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