the night of the sunflowers

January 7, 2008


Last year turned out to be a true film year for me, particularly after my move. I really enjoyed the film festivals in the autumn, like Film Fra Sør, the local Film Festival and even a Hong Kong film series to commemorate the 10th anniversary of Hong Kong’s handover. The latter was memorable not only for premiering ‘Confession of Pain’, the latest film from the Infernal Affairs team, but also for laying on a great buffet afterwards – with alcohol for free, not in any way to be laughed at in this town!

When I did a tally using my paper diary from last year, I realized I had seen almost 40 films – surely a record for me. The one that is still with me the most though, is a Spanish film called ‘The Night of the Sunflowers’, or ‘La Noche de los Girasoles’. It’s director Jorge Sánchez-Cabezudo’s first full-length film, and opens with a man dumping a woman’s body in a field of sunflowers at dawn. It continues in a montage of little films, flitting back and forth in time, steadily building a hugely suspenseful story about how chance meetings and incidents can set off a chain of events, funny, tragic and horrible all at the same time. In that sense it reminded me a little of the Coen brothers’ Blood Simple and Christopher Nolan’s Memento.

The characters and their setting, a small, arid Spanish village, were very reminiscent of the Spain I have seen (minus random killers of course). I found the two aged feuding villagers and the police chief brilliantly played, certainly having the latter as your father-in-law when you’ve botched a murder cover-up is the last thing you would want. The images and the dilemmas of the film are still preying on my mind.

Unfortunately I missed Manda Bala, a documentary on drugs, corruption and crime in Brazil, which Mr. Snow said was a fantastic ride. I hope to catch it sometime (where?). What film have you seen recently that’s still keeping you thinking?


One Response to “the night of the sunflowers”

  1. Tulipgirl Says:

    You put me to shame! I’m afraid I didn’t get much further than Harry Potter this year. Sicko was interesting and less over-the-top-Michael-Moore than you might expect but of course I suffer from a slight professional deformation here. Still, food for thought.

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