El sur | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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On the surface, despite the presence of a different fictional source (a story by Adelaida Garcia Morales) and scriptwriter (Jose Luis Lopez Linares), Victor Erice's second feature seems to bring back some of the haunting obsessions of his first, the wonderful Spirit of the Beehive (1973): the aftermath of the Spanish Civil War, the magical spell exerted by movies over childhood, and a little girl's preoccupation with her father and the past. But as English critic Tim Pulleine has observed, a reference to Hitchcock's Shadow of a Doubt in El sur (South, 1983) points to an elaborate system of doubling and duplication that underlies the film's structure as a whole, operating on the level of shots and sequences as well as themes (north and south, father and daughter, real and imaginary). Although this subtle spellbinder ends somewhat abruptly, reportedly because the film's budget ran out, it seems to form a nearly perfect whole as it is: a brooding tale about an intense father-daughter relationship and the unknowable past, mysterious and resonant, with the poetic ambience of a story by Faulkner. Omero Antonutti (Padre padrone) plays the father; Sonsoles Aranguren is the daughter. (Facets Multimedia Center, 1517 W. Fullerton, Friday and Saturday, April 29 and 30, 7:00 and 9:00; Sunday, May 1, 5:30 and 7:30; and Monday through Thursday, May 2 through 5, 7:00 and 9:00; 281-4114)

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