Saturday, April 4, 2020

Galician Fire

O que arde/Fire Will Come (2019) - Laxe
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O que arde starts with startling images of bulldozers logging at night, as trees violently shake before they pushed down, out of frame. It's deep in the rural Galicia, a northwestern region of Spain. Amador (played by non-professional Amador Arias) gets released from the prison where he was serving for arson. He is greeted by his old mother Benedicta (also non-professional Benedicta Sanchez)in their old cot, where she tends to her three cows and an old German shepherd named Luna. Their are some young villagers trying to fix up an old cottage, hoping the tourists will flock to the region. But otherwise, people lead their simple lives in a sleepy old hamlet. The news of Amador's return quickly spreads through village and some people are uneasy about the presence of the arsonist. Amador keeps to himself, tends to cows, make fire in an old school stove, checks on the mountain spring - the water supply for the village and tends to his mother. There is even a possibility of romance between Amador and a local veterinarian who tended to one of his cows. Then a forest fire happens.

Laxe observes his beloved Galician region and its people simply and quietly. There is obviously an environmental message with clearcut logging and our inability to deal with natural disasters that it will indiscriminately happen again and again, whether it's man-made or not. Nature doesn't give a shit about what we are.

Laxe captures some stunning images of beauty in Galicia. His mix of naturalism and documentary style depiction of forest fire and fire fighters combating it is highly commendable. The film is just as striking as Amador's face. Beautiful filmmaking.

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