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Carla Simón’s stunning film debut is an evocation of childhood with the emotional force of Victor Erice’s Secret of the Beehive and Truffaut’s Au revoir les enfants.
A jewel. Masterly. One of the year’s best films. In its subtlety, richness and warmth it is entirely beguiling – complex and simple at the same time. It is also very moving.
In the wake of her mother’s death, six-year-old Frida leaves Barcelona to live in the Catalan provinces with her aunt Marga, uncle Esteve and younger cousin, Anna. Her loving extended family, new home in the country and summer holidays seem to offer a much-needed salve, but Frida’s complicated grief runs deep.
Drawn from biographical elements in her own life, Catalan director Carla Simón’s stunning narrative first feature is also a masterclass in directing children. The performances Simón elicits from her emotionally astute cast, but most impressively from young Laia Artigas, as Frida, and Paula Robles, who plays Frida’s darling, trusting younger cousin, is an object lesson in eliciting naturalistic performances from young actors.
One of 2018’s most awarded and acclaimed films, the film received multiple awards on the festival circuit, including Best First Feature at the Berlin Film Festival, where it premiered, and represented Spain in the (then) Best Foreign Language Film category at the 90th Academy Awards.
– Roberta Ciabarra; Curator, Film
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