The Night of the Sunflowers
by Carlo d'Ursi
- The question is... how far? How far would you be willing to go so that none of that had ever happened?
The Night of the Sunflowers [+see also:
interview: Alina Sigaro
interview: Belén Bernuy
interview: Jorge Sánchez-Cabezudo
film profile] came about as a challenge that Alta Films Producción, part of the Altafilms group, took on over four years ago, when the project was called Angosto. When financing was completed through a complex scheme of international co-productions, shooting on The Night of the Sunflowers began in June of 2005, among the desolate prairies of the Castilla y León region. A region whose towns are dying, where nothing ever happens…almost never. And it is precisely in this setting that the biggest surprises come. In fact, when we were invited to the set of The Night of the Sunflowers, we discovered that the decay of the rural areas can become life, because it produces experiences and memories. Basing his story on this contrast, Jorge Sánchez-Cabezudo was able to create a story that has no black and white spaces, just nuances that change colour according to point of view.
When visiting the set of The Night of the Sunflowers a year ago, an elderly man told me that the last inhabitant of that small town had been murdered. When I asked why, he answered, simply, "He was a bad person". The Night of the Sunflowers pushes the spectator to reflect deeply upon justice, on good and evil. It poses a crucial question on another front: can redemption have a price? If during the last 2,000 years we’ve been taught that sins can be atoned for with an offering to the overflowing coffers of the Catholic Church, why not legitimise this system on a large scale, to erase cruel and ruthless acts?
The Night of the Sunflowers offers no answers, but it does gives us an important interpretative tool: good and evil are simply points of view, they do not exist as absolute values. To accompany him on this adventure, the director chose an exceptional cast: Carmelo Gómez, Spanish cinema’s gentleman par excellence, Mariano Alamente, finally enjoyable on the big screen as well, and newcomer Judith Diakate, who will surely waste not time confirming her talent in the future.
It is crucial to mention the treatment of the concept of violence, thought up and presented as the simple result of a process of escalation that destroys moral principles. In this sense, the standout performance comes from Manuel Morón, who finally abandons his empty and meaningless acting style to truly give life to a character that terrorises with his innate and impulsive violence.
At this point, the only other thing we can do is congratulate the producers for having stood behind a risky project, and hope that this is just the beginning of a long career for director Jorge Sánchez-Cabezudo.
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