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Review: The Night of the Sunflowers – Night of the Sunflower (2006)

Director: Jorge Sánchez-Cabezudo | 123 minutes | drama, thriller | Actors: Carmelo Gómez, Judith Diakhate, Celso Bugallo, Manuel Morón, Mariano Alameda, Vicente Romero, Walter Vidarte, Cesáreo Estébanez, Fernando Sánchez-Cabezudo, Petra Martínez, Nuria Mencía, Enrique Martínez, Mariano Peísña Mascarenas, Luñero

A girl’s is dumped in a colorful field of sunflowers. Will a hard play out before our eyes? The story and character of the that then develops is much broader than the introductory scenes would suggest. What follows is a film that is interesting for a wide audience. The film is half thriller, half psychological drama.

The story is set in an extremely deserted and mountainous area in North West Spain. Many villages are almost depopulated, many houses are empty. The backward population has been shaped and scarred by the lonely and poverty-stricken existence. They are stiff and suspicious and – like the landscape around them – moral standards have been eroded. Optimal use has been made of the desolate landscape.

Potentially happy news is announced almost simultaneously with this sad news. A cave has been found, which may generate income from tourism. From the city the caver Esteban (Carmelo Gómez) is sent to investigate the cave. His girlfriend Gabi (Judith Diakhate) comes along unexpectedly, when she has to bring additional material. Then a second follows, the consequences of which have been ingeniously incorporated into the story.

The consists of six parts. Each part is told from the perspective of one or two of the main characters, who play a supporting role in the other parts. Through this setup, we not only get to know the personal lives of these characters, but also learn what their motives are for their later actions, which are sure to surprise the viewer. The twists and turns that the story takes regularly ensure that the film keeps you constantly busy. Without a doubt a good find in the scenario.

The people in the are ordinary people who are confronted with sudden developments of violence. The film shows how people react to this in different ways and how they respond to it and how they can sometimes get personal benefit from thinking. People come forward with their good and bad character traits, without being easily classified as “good or bad”.

Some decisions turn out to have fatal consequences, followed by dramatic developments. Nice moral dilemmas will surface later on. Can you live with a serious moral guilt and who makes which choice? Is self-interest above all else and who or what do you sacrifice?

The actors’ play is strong, the storyline has no more credibility. A strong debut that makes us long for more from this director. Recommended!

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