The Teacher Who Promised the Sea (HSBC Spanish Film Festival) - Film Review

The Teacher Who Promised the Sea (HSBC Spanish Film Festival) - Film Review

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Posted 2024-05-30 by Jenfollow
Images © Filmax, ICEC, ICAA, Lastor Media, Mastres Films et al

The Teacher Who Promised the Sea is screening at the HSBC Spanish Film Festival over the next two months. Be sure to check out the rest of the program , and make the most of the best cinema from Spain and Latin America. For Festival dates in specific states, eg. Canberra, Adelaide, Brisbane, Perth, Melbourne, Sydney, Byron Bay and Ballina, see here . See the website for more information on special events, special presentations, a focus on female filmmakers, with a spotlight on Isabel Colxet, and 120 years of Salvador Dali. Find out how to win free tickets to one of three J Balvin's 2024 Australian shows in three cities. If you're a real Spanish film buff, you might want to look into an E-ticket bundle . Sale ends 19 June so don't delay and save yourself some dollars.


The Teacher Who Promised the Sea is this year's Festival Centrepiece and winner of the Audience Award at the 2024 Gaudí Awards. You may remember the main actor Enric Auquer, who was in last year's audience favourite - Too Many Chefs . This film is based on the incredible true story of Antoni Benaiges, a Catalan teacher who brought progressive teaching methods from France to a small rural, isolated village in 1930s Burgos, Spain. Used to authoritarian methods and a bit cautious at first, the children loved him, and he was 'all in' - ensuring he was educating them while continuing to let them shine and be children. Unexposed to anything outside their village, Antoni promises his students he'll take them to see the sea for the first time in their lives. Seventy-five years later, the granddaughter of one of Antoni's students sets out in search of the remains of her great-grandfather and comes across the wonderful, yet tragic story of her grandfather's teacher and the tale hidden behind a promise that was never fulfilled.


Starring Enric Auquer (Antonio Benaiges), Laia Costa (Ariadna), Ramón Agirre (Emilio), Luisa Gavasa (Charo), Antonio Mora {Alcalde the Mayor), Milo Taboada (Padre Primitivo), and Alba Guilera (Josefina), this film is 105 minutes long and directed by Patricia Font. Ariadna is a single mum with a daughter, who has a difficult relationship with her mother but is very close to her grandfather who is in a nursing home. She is determined to help her grandfather fulfil his wish to find the remains of his father, who disappeared during the Civil War. She travels to Burgos where a mass grave is being excavated - the buried memories of the Spanish Civil War unearthed, where he may be buried. During her stay, she meets Emilio and comes upon the story of Antonio Benaiges, an idealistic young teacher from Tarragona who took care of her ailing grandfather, when he was a troubled student. The story then goes back and forth in time, as Emilio, also a fellow student alongside her grandfather, tells her about their teacher.


A man before his time, Antonio Benaiges managed to change not just his students' lives but also life in the village, and that didn't make everyone happy. Evil and envy lurk in the most unexpected corners of what should represent good. This film has all the elements that make it endearing, heartwarming, and uplifting. In yet another hit, actor Enric Auquer is stellar as the quietly defiant achiever who manages to inspire his students in the most extraordinary way and draw from the parents what he wished for the children in an intelligent thoughtful way. This film also touches on the Spanish Civil War, which ties in with Benaiges being arrested as his novel teaching methods had generated suspicion and resentment. He was tortured and publicly humiliated. A granddaughter helping her grandfather search for his father, which ties in with the past was a revelation and a breath of fresh air. Especially as her grandfather was one of the most prominent students in Benaiges' time as a teacher, this film hits all the marks and ticks all the boxes in a heartfelt way that is achingly beautiful.



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287190 - 2024-05-29 15:53:28

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