The Holy Innocents

Movies
In the '60s, a young soldier on leave returns to the humble rural croft of his youth to visit his prematurely ageing parents, and recalls, in a series of flashbacks, the lives and quotidian grind of his family. This is Franco's Spain; and for the poorest workers on the estates, life is feudal and brutal. The scenes speak for themselves: the soldier's father crawling like a dog to sniff out fallen game, too proud of his prowess to notice his debasement; his simpleton uncle gently cradling the family's retarded child, only to infect her with lice; his ever-suffering mother, sadly and stoically accepting the loss of her child's chance of an education. If Camus places his sympathy firmly with these innocent victims rather than their morally impoverished employers, his mood is nevertheless one of restraint, shot through with moments of symbolism and dark spirituality. Save only finally, when the cruelty and claustrophobia are punctured by a moment of cold catharsis. A moving and mournful valediction to an unforgotten and unforgiven past.

By: WH

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Cast and crew

Director: Mario Camus
Screenwriter: Antonio Larreta, Manuel Matji, Mario Camus
Cast: Alfredo Landa
Terele Pávez
Francisco Rabal
Augustín González
Juan Diego
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