Cría Cuervos

1976 [SPANISH]

Action / Drama

IMDb Rating 7.9/10 10 11439 11.4K


Top cast

Geraldine Chaplin as María / Ana
Ana Torrent as Ana niña
720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
1008.36 MB
Spanish 2.0
23.976 fps
1 hr 49 min
Seeds 3
1.83 GB
Spanish 2.0
23.976 fps
1 hr 49 min
Seeds 10

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by howard.schumann 9 / 10

A masterful insight into the mind of a little girl

Ana (Ana Torrent), a sad-eyed little girl of about eight years old, unable to sleep, overhears a conversation as she walks down the stairs to get a glass of water. The voices, coming from her father Anslemo's (Hector Alterio), room, are exchanging expressions of mutual love. Ana hears the gasp of a man's voice crying that he is suffocating and then silence. A woman that she recognizes as Amelia (Mirta Miller), the wife of army officer Nicolás (Germán Cobos), her father's best friend, hurriedly leaves the room and heads for the front door, her blouse still unbuttoned. When the girl goes into her father's room, he is dead. She calmly takes the almost-emptied glass of milk next to his bed and washes it in the sink, then carefully puts it back on the kitchen rack.

It's title derived from the Spanish proverb "Raise ravens and they'll take your eyes," Carlo's Saura's haunting Cria Cuervos is a masterful insight into the mind of a little girl traumatized by the death of both of her parents. We see events from Ana's perspective and its fragmented view of an imaginative but angry and resentful child is a mixture of fantasy and reality that is often hard to separate. The film is also seen by some as an allegory for the mindset of the dying days of the Franco dictatorship. Whether it is viewed as a political statement or not, Cria Cuervos' evocation of the painful memories of a child whose grasp on reality is fading is masterful and deeply moving, especially given Ana Torrent's heartfelt and authentic performance.

Ana is one of three sisters. The older one is Irene (Conchita Pérez) and the younger one is Maite (Maite Sanchez). The little girl has visions of her mother talking to her, giving her advice about staying up too late, and reading stories to her in bed. Ana deeply longs for her mother (Geraldine Chaplin) who died of a painful illness before her father passed away. In voice-over we hear the adult Ana (also played somewhat confusingly by Geraldine Chaplin) recalling her memories from childhood and she has little good to say about them, saying that she remembers it being "interminably long and sad, full of fear." The children are now under the care and protection of their Aunt Paulina (Mónica Randall), who lacks warmth and affinity, and some have compared her haughty nature to the authoritarianism of the Franco government.

As a result, the children are much closer to Rosa, the family maid, who talks to them about family secrets even though much of what she says goes over their head. Also living with them in their country estate is the girls' grandmother, disabled and unable to speak who loves to look at family pictures on the wall, trying to recapture her fading memories of the past. The girls play at being adults. Irene puts on her aunt's bra and does her lashes. Pretending to be her father, Irene draws a moustache on her face while Maite wears high heels. Ana puts on lipstick as they act out their version of memories recalled from the many arguments they heard between their unfaithful father and their depressed and anxious mother.

The motif of death runs throughout the film. Ana believes she poisoned her father and fantasizes about also killing her aunt. She even mixes some baking soda in her aunt's milk, thinking it is poison. In one sequence, Ana looks down a busy Madrid street from her roof and pictures herself jumping to her death. The children also play hide-and-seek in which the one whose hiding place is discovered has to pretend to die and remain "dead" until Ana offers a prayer to her guardian angel to "revive my sisters." Although we are somewhat buoyed by the scene of the end of the summer with the girls going back to school, we are left to wonder whether the family's cynicism and negativity will carry over into the children's adult life. The adult Ana's voice-over, heard without any context, is not promising.

Reviewed by francheval 8 / 10

When Franco died

Theme song "Porque te vas" was a huge hit in Europe in 1976, and appealed even to people who didn't understand a word of Spanish. Actually, many people went to see this movie because of the song. As a film, I found it rather austere, and difficult to understand if you are not familiar with Spain's recent history, so I am amazed by the generally good reaction of the public to it.

1976 was the year after Franco died, ending a 40-year period of civil war and dictatorship, which makes "Cria Cuervos" a historical marker in Spanish cinema. Actually, Spanish cinema had until that date been rather poor, very far surpassed by the Italian one, but this situation has lastingly reversed since that date. In 1976, the political future of Spain was still unclear, and this is maybe why Saura remains so allusive.

Action is taking place in the early seventies when Franco was still around. It is centered around 10 year old girl Ana, the second of three daughters. Her father is is a military, which is no innocuous detail in the context of the Franco regime. Her mother is dead, but keeps appearing to her as a ghost, and talks to her, while Ana remains silent. What is going on is a bit unclear, because, very much like in Bunuel movies, reality and dream are hard to tell apart. We don't know if Ana poisons her father, who has affairs with mistresses, but what is certain is that she imagines that, and that he dies too. A symbol for Franco's death?

After their father's death, the girls are fostered by a rigid aunt, who tries to get their affection, but fails. Ana is a silent child, obsessed by death. She plays with poison, spends a lot of time playing with a doll in an empty swimming pool. She also talks to her mute grandmother in a wheel chair, and asks her at one point if she would like to die. As the grandma nods positively, Ana offers to help her dying but the grandma recoils. There is always a grandmother character in every film by Carlos Saura.

Like in many Saura movies, each character seems to incarnate an aspect of Spanish society. The father most likely represents the Franco regime, the mother would be the murdered Republic, the grandmother is probably a reminder of old Spain before the Civil War, and the children, Ana especially, seem to be the symbol of Spanish youth, uncertain about its place and future.

The title refers to a Spanish proverb : "Feed the ravens, and they will tear your eyes up". Does it mean that the Spanish dictatorship did not trust its own children? Possibly, why would there be a dictatorship otherwise?

The ending scene is powerful, as the girls go back to school after the holiday. We see a crowd of children in white blouses walking up the stairs of a high building towering over Madrid, while the theme song plays out loud "Because you are leaving". A vision of future? Looks like it. And who is leaving? Franco? Tempting guess, but the movie lets many questions unanswered.

Geraldine Chaplin, who plays Ana's mother, was by then the wife of Carlos Saura, and as she learned speaking perfect Spanish, she played in several of his movies. As for Ana Torrent, she was at the start of an important career, as she has remained a major actress in Spain as an adult.

Reviewed by Natashenka_S 10 / 10

A film about the girl with sad and serious eyes

I took this film in a video library and watched it 3 times. It is one of the most powerful films I have ever seen. The techniques in the film are very modest but it's amazing what the director does with them. I liked very much this sad and quiet girl. The scene where her pet dies and she buries him is so solemn and heart-breaking. I felt sad about the old Grandmother who watches the old pictures in sadness. I also liked Geraldine Chaplin, she is very good in this role, her intimate bond with the daughter, and how she looks at Ana with sadness when the girl doesn't notice it. The scene where the girl imagines her mom combing her hair is mesmerizing. Maria's pain is very palpable.

By the way I found some interesting information about this film. Geraldine Chaplin was dubbed in the episodes where she plays the grown Ana. It was done because the actress has a slight British accent which is not annoying or too prominent (for me at least), but the point is that she plays a grown girl, and it would be rather weird if a grown person acquires an accent in one's mother tongue if this accent did not exist during the childhood. So it was an intelligent consideration of the director.

I recommend this movie very much.

Read more IMDb reviews

1 Comment

Be the first to leave a comment