Alcarras, the second feature from Spanish writer/director Carla Simon, is a poignant tribute to a disappearing rural lifestyle in Catalonia in north-east Spain.
The Sole family are peach growers from the village of Alcarras, where their trees are planted under a longstanding agreement with the landowners, the wealthy Pinyols.
There is no written contract but the arrangement stemmed from the time long ago when fascists hunted the gentry and Pinyols’ ancestors were sheltered by the Soles.
Now the Pinyol patriarch has died and his grandson wants make money from the land by replacing the peach trees with profitable solar panels. He has given the Soles written notice to leave after the harvest.
Director Simon has created a vivid picture of the lively harvest season, with all the family involved, from toddlers to grandparents, picking the ripe fruit, picnicking and partying, capturing the warmth and excitement of the occasion.
Each character responds differently to the news that this will be the final harvest.
Grandfather Rogelio cannot believe that the unspoken bond will not be honoured, leaving gifts of figs and freshly killed rabbits on the Pinyols’ doorstep. His son berates him for never having secured a signed contract. The young ones regret the loss of the life they have always known but look forward to an independent future.
Cinematographer Daniela Cajias captures the rustic beauty of the farmland setting with nostalgic shots of a sun-drenched landscape which will soon be gone forever.
This is a rare film in the Catalan language and the entire cast are first-time actors from the local community, who speak in their own dialect and deliver wonderfully natural performances under Simon’s direction.
The film has been a popular success in Spain and was the Spanish entry for the best international feature film at the 95thAcadamy Awards. It won the top prize at the 2022 Berlin film festival.
- Alcarras screened at UWA’s Somerville Auditorium last month but the Starfish team was away at the time. Keep an eye out for this lovely film on streaming services, future cinema releases or the Spanish Film Festival.
Watch the trailer…