You might call this Spanish drama an acquired taste. It moves with all the snap of a glacier and the plot – in which a man, Amador (Amador Arias), returns to his hometown on which he once launched an arson attack – is hardly complex. Somehow, though, director Oliver Laxe transforms all these ingredients into a sensory feast. The effect is spellbinding.
Captured on grainy 16mm, Amador’s simple daily tasks as he looks after his elderly mother, unfold with almost indulgent languidness. As does the rural Galician setting, which offers generous eyefuls of rolling mists and lush, dripping woodlands.
What plot there is feeds into bigger unanswered, unanswerable questions about connection and belonging. Amador and his mother chat about the local eucalyptus, a foreign tree which strangles other plants’ roots. ‘If they hurt others, it’s because they hurt, too,’ she suggests. Does this apply to her ex-arsonist son? Or the villagers who gossip about him?
With a documentarian’s instincts, Laxe offers no easy answers. Like Amador, he opts for observation over intervention. The result in this eventually fiery film is refreshing. As with the spoiler of its title, ‘Fire Will Come’ is a little slice of life that proves that sometimes less really is more.
Opens in US virtual cinemas Oct 30.