Alcarràs (in-person & online)
Jordi Pujol Dolcet, Anna Otin, Xènia Roset, Albert Bosch
Winner of the Golden Bear at the Berlinale, writer-director Carla Simón’s follow-up to her arresting debut Summer 1993 (2017) is this lovely, bittersweet and beautifully observed ensemble drama about a Catalonian farming family facing an uncertain future.
For as long as they can remember, the Solés have spent every summer picking peaches from their orchard in Alcarràs, a small village in Spain. But this year’s crop will be their last. The landowner has died, and his grandson and heir wants them to abandon their business so he can uproot the trees and install solar panels. Coming together for the harvest, the Solés find themselves at odds as to how to go on, and discover they risk losing more than their home.
Like Summer 1993, Alcarràs is a very personal story with a political conscience that draws on Simón’s own past, deftly switching between various characters’ points of view to build up a detailed picture of the Solés while exploring the rich theme of tradition versus change. Confirming the power of Simón’s directorial voice and her affinity for intimate, relationship-led stories, the inner lives of children and the Catalonian landscape, it’s a vital, unsentimental and melancholic study of a family living on borrowed time.