In the Summer of 1993, Frida, a six-year-old little girl, leaves Barcelona and her grandparents for the countryside. After her father, her mother has just died of a mysterious illness. Taken in by her uncle Esteve and aunt Marga, Frida discovers her new environment, an old stone farmhouse in a mountainous area close to a dense forest. Her new "parents" prove friendly. Another good point is that they have a three-year old daughter named Anna who can become a playmate. For another child less disturbed than miserable uprooted Frida, this would be the most idyllic of stays, in other words a permanent vacation. But Frida IS disturbed and if there are undeniably good times at her new "home", there is also the unexpressed pain which makes her both feel sad and behave badly. Will Frida overcome her troubles ? Only the end of Summer will tell. Written by
This is the story of a little girl from Barcelona who is adopted by her aunt's family in the countryside, after her mother passes away. Largely autobiographical, "Summer 1993" is filmed in a very naturalistic style and almost feels like a documentary. The director, Carla Simón, pays special attention to the kind of small details that can make a big difference to a young kid. Although not very much seems to be going on in the surface, one can see that a very important drama, charged with intense emotions, is going on deep in the lives of this little person and the family that has welcomed her. The acting is all very effective and particularly Laia Artigas, who plays the main character, is surprisingly strong and charismatic for someone her age.
"Summer 1993" is one of many Spanish films that observe the world through the eyes of a child. Other examples include the classics "Cría Cuervos", "The Spirit of the Beehive" and "El Sur" or even the more recent "Pan's Labyrinth". The contemplative gaze and relatively slow pace remind me of "En Construcción", a documentary by another Catalan filmmaker, José Luis Guerín.
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