206 of 1001 Movies: Cria Cuervos (1976)

Carlos Saura has a made a dark film with no point. It’s got all the vibe of the 70’s in it, and some great actors. The movie though lacks a little in making a connection with the whole point of the movie, and with disjointed scenes thrown in that interrupt the flow it just leaves you feeling empty by the end. It’s got a surreal tone, and unless you’re into the artsy overtures then it might be a miss. Saura takes the colors, music, and atmosphere of the time to make something that plays as real life though.

Summary: After the death of their father, Ana, Irene, and Maite are left orphaned and in the care of their aunt. Ana becomes oddly fascinated with death though after witnessing her mother dying at home alone, and her father dead in his bed. This leaves her to be a problematic child with an uncertain future that is only hinted at by her future self sometimes doing the voice over. Ana still is a child though, and while a lot of her childhood is messed up it still shows her treasuring and trying to enjoy the things that most other children do growing up.

Acting: The acting is well portrayed by everyone, especially from the little girl, Ana. She captures the eerie vibe of a child that has seen as much as she has. She also though shows interest in being a kid just like any kid would no matter what they might have seen. It seems her aunt is unaware or in denial about the gravity of what Ana has witnessed though. They cast the same person to be the mother and the child, Ana, though. Ana as a grown up looks just like her mother. I feel this took away from her personality as an adult later on in conveying how she felt as a kid.

Filming: The movie is set and made in the 70’s and it goes to natural lengths to convey that. The colors chosen remain vivid long after watching. It seems a lot of red and blues were used. The music also does a great job of setting us in that time. With the darker colors chosen, and even the odd music it does convey the contrasting vibe of adult themes along with the childhood identity in the movie.

Plot: Where it got really slow for me was with the plot. You have a well shot and well acted movie, but the story lacks a lot, and the ending leaves you feeling quite depressed and a bit unresolved. It leaves ends like the grown up Ana, and the childhood Ana disconnected. What was the point of the voice over besides some artsy look into the mind of Ana? It just felt like it was going for too much and said too little. The story of Ana told more with action and narrative would have been better then the almost completely silent piece given. Much of the movie could barely be heard even when they did choose to talk.

Cria Cuervos has good moments, and very emotional moments. It would make for a great movie had the writing just felt it had reached all around to the potential it was showing. The ending is where it really fell flat for me. After watching a movie that took it’s self seriously and then an ending that didn’t do all the characters justice just felt empty.

Rating 6 of 10.

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