Blood and Passion in the Basque Country. A beautiful allegorical political metaphor of the Basque Conflict. Set in the Basque region the film portrays how one single act of cowardice shapes the life of the next three generations of two families and fuels the intense rivalry which will span the next sixty-one years.
Medem continues the work of Armendariz in Tasio, rethinking how Basque landscapes shape the identity of Basque people but transform the lush forest of Basque Country to add symbolism, revolution in the form and political rivalries to the plot.
An evocative film about the meaning of family, honor, tradition, endogamy, and memory. Vacas turned out to be one of the most important films of the 1990s, ushering in a debate about the revival of Basque cinema. Despite the passage of time, the film still retains an aura of mystery and beauty.
“Spanning over 60 years from the Carlist Wars to the Spanish Civil War this film is a dreamy study of major events in spanish history and how they disrupt the interminable cycle of rural life”
“”Cows” is a film so overflowing with what can only be called life-force energy that these digressions lend it an extra depth and poignancy” (New York Times)
“Vacas winds through myths of old Spain with great visual style” (Chicago Tribune)
The story is sometimes told from the eccentric point of view of cows, an emblematic figure that reaffirms Basque rural identity (and relates to Picasso’s Guernica anguish). Widely-splayed angles and sudden upward-cranes almost prepare us for some glossy visual effect, something to divorce us further from what we are seeing, but this never comes. Médem’s visuals are polished, but he retains the blunt sensibilities of a protean fabulist, never compromising an intrinsic feel for the bestial and irrational, the grim atavism at the core of our emotions.
Medem seeks to rethink the local imagery of the Basque Country in more universal terms. Vacas would be the starting point for a new generation of Basque filmmakers to express their relation with tradition and land in a new.
This event is part of Basque Spring, a film season organised by Cinemaattic that will bring to the UK classic and contemporary films from Basque Country from April 25th to May 23rd, and includes special screenings, talks and gastronomic events. The retrospective is supported by Etxepare Basque Institute and is part of the #ScotlandGoesBasque programme. More information via: at www.cinemaattic.com