Thursday, February 11, 2016

Cría cuervos (1976)

Today's film is Cría cuervos.  It stars children but it is not a child's film.

The term "Cría cuervos" means to "raise ravens (crows)".  This means to say if you raise a raven, they'll scratch your eyes out.  Same way if you raise a child poorly, they'll end up destroying you.

The film stars three orphan girls, Irene, Ana, and Maite.  Their mother was sickly, pale, and eventually died of cancer.  Their father was an army man who regularly cheated on her.  The mother gives Ana a jar of baking soda and tells her to throw it out because it is a dangerous poison.  Ana, not knowing what baking soda really is, keeps it for her nefarious purposes.  She puts it in her father's milk to "poison" him, and when he dies of  a possible heart attack, she believes the poison works.

Now that the girls are without both parents, their mother's sister, Aunt Paulina moves in.  Also, their invalid grandmother comes with her.  She is in a wheelchair and cannot speak.  At first, they are happy, but they realize that Aunt Paulina has the exact personality of their dad!  This does not please Ana at all, and she lets everyone know this.

The orphan girls - Ana, little Maite, and Irene.

Ana often dreams of her mother and father, and has conversations with them often.  We can tell these are really dreams instead of visions, because her mother always tells her it's late and she should be asleep.  Well she is asleep.

Aunt Paulina isn't even a good mom, often leaving to do who knows what while the eldest, Irene, has to babysit.  When she's not gone, she's busy at the house making out with married men.  The only person Ana has to talk to about her parents is the family housekeeper, Rosa, who has known her since birth.  But, Paulina quickly shuts them down and won't let her "gossip" about her sister.  Talking about her parents is a healthy outlet and Paulina actively seeks to stop that.  Paulina is incredibly rude towards Rosa.

Ana is so frustrated at Paulina's presence (who really is like father version 2.0)  that she plots to poison her as well.  So, she dumps baking soda in her milk and is shocked to see her alive the next day.  At the end, the summer is over and they are no longer cooped up in the house.  They dress for school and head out into the city.  Maybe being away from the house for awhile will be good for them.  I will give this film a 7/10.

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