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Berlin Review: Golden Bear Winner ‘Alcarrás’ From Director Carla Simon

Carla Simon’s “Alcarrás”
Berlin Movie Festival

The Sole family grows peaches. Spherical white peaches ripen first; then the flat white peaches that supermarkets love; then yellow grasp peaches. Their farmhouse is surrounded by the plantation they’ve tended for 3 generations, promised to them in perpetuity by the recent owner’s sizable-grandparents all over the Civil Warfare. Recollections are long in their corner of Catalonia. No one remembers a time sooner than peaches. Harvesting determines the rhythm of their rumbustious family existence. When the fruit ripens, it’s all hands on deck.

Director Carla Simon, whose glowing movie Alcarrás has appropriate won the Golden Undergo on the Berlin Movie Festival, grew up in the put of residing of Catalonia the put this movie is determined: Alcarrás is the name of the closest village. Her possess uncles develop peaches; the movie glows no longer handiest with sunshine and her love of this nation and its ways, but genuine, arduous knowledge of how farming as a enterprise is being day-to-day eroded.

Because the fruit hangs heavy from the bushes and African workers launch arriving, the Soles are confronted with dropping their livelihood. The recent owner Joachim Pinyol (Jacob Diarte), a city-dweller who likes to possess an ticket on a Stetson hat, has realized he can construct extra money from the land placing in fields of solar panels. Omit that long-ago handshake; barring a miracle, this summer may maybe perhaps presumably be the family’s last season. Agribusiness, supermarkets and the utility firm folk in their orange uniforms will at last possess inherited the Earth.

Grandpa (Josep Abad) is as perplexed as he’s devastated. His possess grandfather hid Pinyol’s sizable-grandfather in the basement all over the war years; how can this no longer topic? His son Quimet (Jordy Pujol Dolcet), who’s literally breaking his reduction working the farm, doesn’t know the put to convey his fury: to his father, to the machine eating them alive, or to the myriad things that launch as a lot as annoy him. Surely he is conscious of no person signed agreements in the 1930s, but if handiest they had!

His wife (Anna Otin), because the mainstay of the family, tries to wait and see as his dread rises, his temper shortens and he quarrels with one member of the family after any other. Cisco (Carles Cabós), married to his sister Nati (Montse Oró), slips a long way from the harvest to price if he can ranking a job with the solar panel firm, opening a rift in the family — no longer least because he’s the handiest one that can fix the tractor.

A 2d sister Gloria (Berta Pipo), visiting from Barcelona, urges Quimet to adore how he’s hurting his beloved family; she is duly exiled. Son Roger (Albert Bosch) tries desperately to help by working more sturdy than ever, but his agitated father growls at him to position more time into the schoolwork. Teenage daughter Mariona (Xenia Roset) can no longer earn seeing the clan so jumpy. She retreats into herself, her face darkish. Handiest the smallest kids stay effervescent, stealing peach crates to construct dens and getting tangled in agricultural equipment. “Bother follows you,” Quimet chides his daughter Iris (Ainet Jounou) as he rescues her miniature cousin from the scoop of a digger she has managed to activate.

No one right here is an actor. They are all locals who spoke the particular regional dialect of Catalan and knew the land. For director Simon, that authenticity became once what mattered. That she has created such advanced, conflicted characters and won such edifying performances from amateurs is a testament to her powers of empathy. The identical spirit informs Daniela Cajias’ digicam as it follows and frames them; it’s miles as if there is a kinship that binds no longer handiest the family we price on movie – none of whom are without a doubt linked – but furthermore those in entrance of the digicam with those in the help of it.

It is a long way handiest on reflection that you realize what a counterpoint to dilapidated story Simon and her co-creator Arnau Vilaro possess constructed. All the pieces right here happens in the 2d. There’s now not this form of thing as a hope that this family can stage a battle in opposition to the bigger powers role to crush them (let by myself take, as they would in a Hollywood movie) because they’re appropriate too busy. In its put, Simon builds her movie as a gaggle of quarrels, family barbecues and long working days. There’s barely even any tune, excluding when any individual sings (by no way effectively, but continually with feeling). To impose a mood with swelling violins would smack of fakery. There will be none of that right here. Above all, Alcarrás is for genuine.

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