Irish Film Institute -CRIA CUERVOS



110 minutes| Spain| 1975| Subtitled| Colour| D-Cinema


Shot in the summer of 1975 as General Franco lay dying, Carlos Saura’s masterpiece takes its title from a sinister Spanish proverb: ‘raise ravens and they’ll pluck out your eyes.’ A subtle yet unmistakable indictment of the family as a repressive force in Spanish society, Cria cuervos centres on an eight-year-old orphan (the spellbinding Ana Torrent from Victor Erice’s 1973 masterpiece The Spirit of the Beehive) who believes herself to have poisoned her cold, authoritarian father (Hector Alterio), a high-ranking military man whom she blames for the death of her adored mother (Geraldine Chaplin).

Looking forward to Guillermo del Toro’s Pan’s Labyrinth, Cria cuervos (Raise Ravens) is one of cinema’s most hauntingly vivid depictions of a child’s fantasy-imbued reality. Darkly unsettling, deeply touching and comic by turns, this landmark of Spanish cinema – premiered shortly after the dictator’s death – exposes a stifling world in which talk of sex or the Civil War is still largely taboo. (Notes by Geoff Andrew).

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