When the Mountain Rumbles & This Was Your Nicest Auntie Ria
IDFA 2022: When the Mountain Rumbles & This Was Your Nicest Auntie Ria
During this screening, When the Mountain Rumbles will be followed by This Was Your Nicest Auntie Ria.
When the Mountain Rumbles (Alba Bresolí Aliberch, ES 2022, 29')
In 1959, during Franco’s dictatorship, the inhabitants of the Spanish village Escó were ordered to evacuate to make way for the construction of a reservoir in the Pyrenees. One father with three sons simply refused to go. The three now-aging brothers still live in the village, isolated among the ruins where they tend their herd of sheep. Time has stood still here for decades, but now the government intends to build a motorway that will pass right through the area. Their simple, secluded way of life is imperiled again.
The empathetic camera follows the brothers with observational, panoramic shots in this stunning landscape—often in silence, or against an aural backdrop of tinkling sheep bells or bleating. Sometimes one of the men sings a song, daydreams aloud about food, or holds forth about the value of diligence in labor. But time is moving on, and soon there are brutish machines driving noisily and threateningly among the sheep.
The prologue and epilogue of When the Mountain Rumbles were filmed with an 8mm camera. These grainy black-and-white scenes form a monument to a pure way of life and a bygone era.
This Was Your Nicest Auntie Ria (Anneke de Lind van Wijngaarden, NL 2022, 37')
She’s not stupid, she gets what’s going on—Ria tells her niece Anneke that she knows she's “heading towards dementia.” That’s why she hangs up notes to remind herself that Anneke has just been to New York and they can chat about that. “Terrible, isn't it? I think I’ll have another glass of wine.”
Anneke follows her strong-willed aunt in the seven years leading up to her death. Ria may be losing her memory, but not her sense of humor. When Anneke isn’t visiting, Ria keeps her up-to-date with voicemails and phone calls—her voice becoming increasingly hesitant. The technological innovations that are supposed to be making life easier in her small apartment overlooking Amsterdam’s Vondelpark only make her confusion worse.
While the seasons glide by on the other side of the window, Ria swings back and forth between denial and cheerful resignation. Although she is generally grateful to her carers, she sometimes starts arguments in frustration about her increasing dependence. But this loving film is never weighed down by her approaching end, in a bittersweet and realistic impression of the last years of a life.
Documentary lovers, keep 9 through 20 November free in your calendar. The International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam presents its 35th edition in cinemas throughout Amsterdam, including several special programmes in Eye.
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