Tobacco Barns - Film Review Spanish Film Festival 2023

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Posted 2023-06-06 by Jenfollow

Wed 14 Jun 2023 - Wed 12 Jul 2023

Tobacco Barns - Film Review (Spanish Film Festival 2023)

Tobacco Barns at the Spanish Film Festival (14/06/2023 - 12/07/2023) is directed by Rocio Mesa and stars Vera Centenera, Ada Mar Lupiáñez, and Tamara Arias. This 98 min long subtitled drama/fantasy rides two parallel stories that take place between tobacco farmers during one summer. A small rural town at the foot of the Sierra Nevada Mountain range is where locals have long been making their living farming tobacco. Seven-year-old Vera (Vera Centenera) has arrived from the big city with her mother, to visit her grandparents and their tobacco farm. She loves coming to the farm to spend time with her grandparents and to play with her little friends in their deserted tobacco barn which the grandparents have already sold.

Nieves (Ada Mar Lupiáñez) by contrast is a teenager who lives there and works on her family's farm all day. Unlike Vera, she feels caged in the life she's been given, and dreams of leaving for a new life. Both girls are driven by their sense of adventure and seem connected to a magical creature in their whimsical minds that grown-ups who have become too weary with the weight of reality can't see.

With a creature created by Oscar winners DDT (Pan's Labyrinth, A Monster Calls) this is director Rocio Mesa's feature debut inspired by her childhood in southern Spain.

Young Vera Centenera as Vera is enchanting with all the wide-eyed sense of adventure of a child where everything in the world is a new experience on each waking day. Her story will remind you of a childhood when at times you lived in a fantasy world you've made up in your imagination, here on earth, sharing it in play with your friends. Nieves' (Ada Mar Lupiáñez) life on the other hand is filled with responsibility in a mundane life far too dry for a teen with not much to do. She works hard all day helping her parents on the tobacco farm. She still manages to sneak out and have late nights with her friends and boyfriend, but the desire to fly free and escape is so strong; though restricted by not having the power to do anything about it as a teenager with no financial means or opportunity.

A snapshot of moments in life and family relationships; the tobacco farms hold something different for everyone. Fantasy for the child, a cage for the teenager, a tough life for their parents who watch as their tobacco farming lands slowly disappear into the hands of land developers, and a treasured memory hard to let go of for the elderly who have sold their tobacco barn. Each one is on their own journey culminating in the reality they begin to understand and accept. It is a nostalgic journey for the director who worked with non-professional actors from the area who amazingly perform their roles with a natural ease. Unlike the tobacco creature whose supernatural element seems like a forced oddity rather than a natural part of the story. One would wonder why it was there at all. There are long long moments of emptiness and if it was meant to convey the stifling life of nothingness, then it did so with aplomb.

!date 14/06/2023 -- 12/07/2023
163257 - 2023-06-14 21:53:53


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