Summer 1993 review – stunning drama of a childhood ripped apart

the Guardian | 7/12/2018 | Peter Bradshaw
LordLord (Posted by) Level 4


This autobiographical debut from 32-year-old Spanish film-maker Carla Simón is a jewel. In its subtlety, richness and warmth it is entirely beguiling – complex and simple at the same time. It is also very moving. Summer 1993 is about childhood and a child’s fraught relationship to the adult world, and has some of the most miraculous child performances I can remember seeing recently, although the concept of “performances” and “acting” are meaningless with children this young: two little girls of six and three years old. There is something awe-inspiring in realising that, to all intents and purposes, what we are seeing is real. The moment-by-moment interplay of emotions and dramatic gestures between these children is effectively innocent of grownup play-acting and pretend.

It is a classic premise for a film about a remembered childhood – although the act of remembering is only implicit, contained in the title. This happened more than 20 years ago. Frida, played by Laia Artigas, is a lonely six-year-old who has been sent away from her home in Barcelona to live with her aunt and uncle and their infant daughter in the countryside: a long, drowsy, lazy summer is in prospect before Frida must enrol at the local school for a new term. But there is nothing idyllic about it. Frida is going away because her mum has just died, and it appears her father had also died, a few years previously. Frida is in shock, or she is simply too young to process what is happening. A mean kid in the first scene jeers at her: “Why aren’t you crying?”

Mum - Brother - Esteve - David - Verdaguer

Her mum’s brother Esteve (David Verdaguer) has agreed to take in little Frida, and effectively raise her as his own daughter, and he is supported by his partner Marga (Bruna Cusí). They are a relaxed and loving...
(Excerpt) Read more at: the Guardian
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