by Júlia Olmo
- Carla Subirana creates a profound and moving fable whose truth is found in its magical yet real narrative
"There is no real way to deal with everything we lose," Joan Didion wrote in the last pages of Where I Was From, after the death of her father and then her mother. Our life is made up of what we have lived, but also of what we have imagined and dreamed, of what we desire and long for, of what we say and what we keep silent about, of our ghosts and our searches, of the people we love and who are by our side and of those we love and those we have lost. In its own way, this is what Sica [+see also:
film profile], the new film by filmmaker Carla Subirana (until now known as a documentary filmmaker), attempts to relate. The film is being screened in the official section of the 26th Malaga Film Festival, after its screening at the last Berlinale in the Generation section.
The film tells the story of Sica (played by the non-professional actress Thais García), a 14-year-old girl who has just lost her father in a shipwreck on the Costa da Morte, in Galicia. Subirana tells a story of mourning and searching, the stubbornness in which Sica confronts this loss, clinging to the possibility of her loved one returning, to the desire to know, and how this loss affects her relationship with her mother (Núria Prims), and their different ways of handling death. The daughter, as is more appropriate for her age, in a deluded and desperate way, not quite understanding what has happened to her; the mother, more resigned, simply trying to get by. In a more obscured manner, the film also covers the secrets in this death, about the darkness in all of us.
Subirana's past documentary experience is very present in Sica. This is precisely one of the great virtues of the film, its truth and simplicity when it comes to looking at and filming what surrounds and inhabits us. Also, the use of documentary materials to make fiction. The filmmaker draws on the allegorical and evocative power of the sounds and images of nature to create a fable full of darkness and beauty. There is a certain magic in this way of narrating, in balancing between reality and fantasy, in this image of the sea that runs throughout the entire film. The use of the sea as a symbol of the enigma that each one of us is, of the impossibility of deciphering the other, of what we never manage to see and understand, of losing and searching, of what hurts us and at the same time traps us, of what breaks us and also brings us back to life.
Another of the film's great merits is its restraint, in how it narrates with suggestion and ellipsis. There are images and silences that manage to express all the pain within the characters. Also, in how it finds its tone, by controlling the pace and the time that the facts need to be told, from less to more, knowing how and when to go from darkness to light.
Sica is a film that achieves what it sets out to be. A simple, profound and moving film. A fable whose truth is found in that magical and at the same time very intimate narrative, from that balance between fantasy and reality.
Sica is a production from the companies Alba Sotorra Cinema Productions and Miramemira, which will be released in Spain on 19 May by A Contracorriente Films.
(Translated from Spanish by Vicky York)
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