- Cría Cuervos
- Raise Ravens (1976)Carlos Sauras Cría cuervos, produced by Elias Querejeta, was the first script the director wrote on his own, and one of his greatest successes as the Franco period was about to end. The title was inspired by a Spanish proverb that says "If you raise ravens, they'll pluck your eyes out," which is about the potentially disastrous effects of education on children. Like many films in the dissident tradition in those years, it works as a metaphorical melodrama in which audiences are encouraged to read between the lines and beyond the more literal elements of the plot.Most elements of the film, in terms of characterization or location, seem to demand such symbolic reading. The story takes place mostly in a large labyrinthine mansion in Madrid. At the start, Ana (played by Ana Torrent), a nine-year-old girl, hears her father die while having sex with a friend of the family. Later, we become aware that she has tried to kill her father with a white powder she thinks is poison. The film then proceeds to describe the family situation: Ana and her two sisters are the daughters of a civil war veteran (played by Héctor Alterio) and a young English woman (Geraldine Chaplin) who died a few years back. It was an unhappy marriage, and Ana has taken sides with her mother, who turns up as a ghostly presence in the house. After the father's death, aunt Paulina (Mónica Randall), the mother's sister, comes to live in the house and take care of the children. She is obsessed with bringing order into the house, but Ana resents discipline and starts planning her death. Another layer is added through close-ups of a grown-up Ana (also played by Chaplin) as she comments on the events and reminisces on a largely unhappy childhood. Finally, the girls' grandmother sits silently in a wheel-chair, and her expression only comes to light as she is placed in front of old pictures to the tune of an old-fashioned copla.On its release in 1976, the film was read as an indictment of the Franco regime, which had raised little conflicted monsters like Ana, and audiences were curious enough to turn it into a box-office hit. It was awarded the Grand Prize of the Jury at the Cannes Film Festival, and Saura was nominated as best director (he won that award at the Círculo de Escritores Cinematográficos in Spain).
Historical dictionary of Spanish cinema. Alberto Mira. 2010.