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Sunday, January 11, 2015

El Manzano Azul

El Manzano Azul, 2012
(El Condef Blog)
no copyright infringement intended


A boy of about ten or eleven must spend the summer at his grandfather (the boy barely knows his grandpa). The boy comes from a big city  where the universe has smartphone, cable TV, and Internet as natural coordinates. The grandpa lives in a remote village in the mountains, where the universe is deprived even of electricity and bathroom. People in the village look like from another planet, and boys of his age are overtly hostile. Generally everything seems to be charged with an incomprehensible level of brutality. Add to this the traumas the boy carries with him from the city: the father has left the family to come back only in very short flashbacks in the boy's nightly dreams.

All this makes the little boy very reluctant towards his grandpa and towards everybody and everything there. Well, the grandpa is patient and tactful, and little by little he succeeds to communicate his own balance to the boy.

And so the boy starts progressively to open himself to the new universe and get more and more fascinated by the knowns and unknowns there. There is something beyond the incomprehensible brutality: a genuine collective solidarity against the potential evil coming from outside. Once you are accepted, you'll bee protected.

This grandpa seems to carry wonderful mysteries, the same as the blue apple tree near the house. It's for the boy  the beginning of a lifelong fascination for the place, and he will come back in the years that follow, and will marry the girl he met here in the village during that summer of long time ago.

A simple and beautiful story that is recomposed through the memories of the adult who once was a boy of about ten or eleven, and who has inherited from his grandpa that wonderful balance in approaching the knowns and unknowns in life.

That is El Manzano Azul (The Blue Apple Tree), the 2012 movie of Venezuelan director Olegario Barrera. The grandpa is played by an unforgettable actor, Miguel Ángel Landa.



Watching this movie, my own story from long time ago came to my mind; my father that abandoned his family; his image coming in quick stupid flashbacks to me, now and then; me, born in France, at three years old coming to Romania; not knowing any Romanian word; as for my Grandma, she did not know French; now I am close to my seventies; I hope I learned from my Grandma one or two lessons.

(Olegario Barrera)

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