Date(s) - 07/29/2015
7:00 pm - 9:30 pm
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- The Quince Tree Sun
Víctor Erice (Spain, 1992). Archival print! Víctor Erice and Richard Peña in conversation. Erice’s third feature is an exquisite portrait of the Spanish realist painter Antonio López García. “A thoughtful, delicate inquiry into the essence of the artistic process” (NY Times). International Critics’ Prize, 1992 Cannes Film Festival. (138 mins)
“One of contemporary cinema’s most eloquent poets” (Geoff Andrew), the Spanish director Víctor Erice may have only directed three features in the past four decades, but his body of work remains one of the most influential in world cinema. Masterpieces of what is now called “contemplative cinema,” The Spirit of the Beehive, El Sur, and The Quince Tree Sun favor patient observation over onrushing narrative as they reflect on the passing of time, childhood, cinema, and the gap between a dreamer’s fantasy life and more prosaic reality. Deeply ingrained in Spanish art and history, whether through their embrace of Spanish Baroque chiaroscuro or their reflections of the wounds left by the Spanish Civil War, the films are nonetheless universal in theme and effect, with children, art, and dream the purest focus. “The politics are important aspects, but it is interiorized—it is the historic décor,” Erice mused in a Guardian interview. “But the real heart, the universality of the stories, is the experience of children discovering the world.”
Born in 1940, Erice studied film at the University of Madrid before making his feature debut with 1973’s The Spirit of the Beehive, a hypnotically paced look at a young girl’s childhood in post-Civil War Spain, praised as “the best Spanish film ever made” (New York Times). “With the poetic ambience of a story by Faulkner” (Jonathan Rosenbaum), 1983’s El Sur follows a young girl’s search for the secret of why her parents fled from south of Spain to the north. Erice returned in 1992 with The Quince Tree Sun, which documents the noted Spanish painter Antonio López García bringing “a dream of light” to “life.” “I don’t know if it is as much a cinema of contemplation,” Erice said in 2000, “as a cinema that, faced with what are the current dominant ideas, presents another way of seeing.”
Series curated by Film Curator Kathy Geritz. Afterimage: Filmmakers & Critics in Conversation is made possible by generous funding from the Hollywood Foreign Press Association®. Our thanks to Pablo Garcia of Nautilus Films for his invaluable assistance with this series, as well as to Richard Peña, Edith Kramer, and our colleagues at TIFF Cinematheque. An Open Window: The Cinema of Víctor Erice, edited by Linda C. Ehrlich, was a valuable resource and gave us our title.