“Las Ninas”, Spain with two faces

Las Niñas **

by Pilar Palomero

Spanish film, 1 h 37

Zaragoza, 1992. Célia, 11, lives alone with her single mother and attends a very strict Catholic college. The arrival in her class of Brisa, a new comrade from Barcelona, ​​brings a breath of fresh air to a dreary and corseted existence. She leads him into a new stage of his life, adolescence, which allows him to flourish while opening his eyes to the reality of his family situation and the stigma that the society of the time still weighs on she.

An education out of step with the times

The director, Pilar Palomero, was inspired by her own memories to build this touching adolescent chronicle, crowned in Spain by four Goyas (the equivalent of the Césars). The good idea of ​​this first film, very controlled formally, is to show us in a way the other side of “Movida”. While that year, the Olympic Games and the Seville Universal Exhibition symbolized Spain’s openness to modernity, much of the country still remained in the grip of the moral and social order inherited from Spain. Franco era.

→ READ. “The oblivion that we will be”, in the name of the father

One only has to look at a television program of the time, or the headlines of magazines and newspapers, to realize that in many places in Spain, or in many environments, this so-called modernity was a mirage. », Explains the director. Through Celia’s gaze, we discover the weight of an education out of step with the times, where sexuality remains the ultimate taboo, and the difficulty of breaking free from it.

With its square format which locks young girls into this narrow universe, its monochrome tones and its minimalist plot, this film is the exact opposite of those of Pedro Almodovar and shows us another face of Spain. If there is an inspiration to look for in Spanish cinema, it would be rather in the magnificent Cría cuervos, by Carlos Saura.


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