Directed by Mateo Gil
Written by Mateo Gil and Igor Legarreta
Starring Juan José Ballesta, Jordi Dauder, Natalia Millán, David Arnaiz, Adrián Marin, José Ángel Egido, Miguel Rellán, Victoria Mora and Walter Prieto
Tomás (Jordi Dauder), a grey-haired man, perhaps in his sixties, is driving through mainland Europe back towards Spain and the small village where he grew up. He carries a Tarot card marked “Los Amentes” (The Lovers). He has flashbacks to the village over forty years earlier and a woman called Moira (Natalia Millán) who comes to live in a house up on the hill. The woman lives there alone with her cat and does not attend Mass. The region is suffering a severe drought and the suspicious local villagers come to believe she is a witch who consorts with the devil.
One of the six films in the “Películas para no dormer” series (Films to Keep You Awake), ‘Regreso a Moira’ or ‘Spectre’, to give the film its English title, is the slowly unfolding story of a teenage boy, Tomás (played in his younger guise by Juan José Ballesta) who experiences his sexual awakening when he encounters the mysterious woman who has come to live outside his village. He becomes enchanted by her and she offers him a glimpse of an alternative life to the stifling traditions of the remote village he has grown up in, where everything revolves around the local Church. However, his jealousy grows stronger with each passing day, with tragic consequences.
The film explores the ingrained suspicions of people who fear anything they do not understand and see evil all around them. It also comments, indirectly, on the ways in which the landscape of Spain and the very fabric of life in the country has changed. The small remote village of forty years ago has long gone is now an inhospitable town relying on tourism to survive, with many faceless buildings in various stages of construction.
This is a quiet and beautiful film, a doomed love story, with an almost dreamlike quality.
Review posted 9 April 2009