A still from ‘Alcarràs’ Photo credit: @PalaceFilms/YouTube
As the summer months wind down in a lush peach orchard in Alcarras, director Carla Simon follows three generations of a family who look sometimes with despair and sometimes with hope to a future where they can now continue traditional farming. Can’t continue. Through a slow-paced narrative spanning months and evoking a patchwork of emotions, Simon presents a kaleidoscopic film that delves into the heat of summer’s transition to monsoon.
In his film Alcaras, which one Is Named after the city and winning the Golden Bear at the 2022 Berlinale, Simon Soli wanders through the emotions of the extended family who are about to lose their peach orchard. Realizing that the original agreement was only verbal, the Soules have no documents to prove ownership and are being pressured to vacate the land for the installation of solar panels. Simone first conveys the trauma of the transformation through the youngest Souls, including six-year-old Iris (Annette Juno) whose junk car, which she uses in her elaborate heist film stunts. is, is removed. It doesn’t take long for the whole family to be caught up in a tale of potential loss.
While grandfather Rogelio (Joseph Abad) wanders around the orchard in a sense of quiet melancholy, his son Quimet (Jordi Pujol-Dulcet) works overtime to harvest the peaches, almost in denial that it could be the last. Meanwhile, Quimt’s son Roger (Albert Bosch) is pursuing his higher education while helping his father on the farm. Roger’s youngest sister Iris remains oblivious to the gravity of the situation and builds forts out of peach crates.
Director: Carla Simon
Cast: Jordi Pujol Dolcet, Anna Otin, Xènia Roset, Albert Bosch, Ainet Jounou, Josep Abad
Duration: 120 minutes
Story: On the brink of losing their peach orchard, an extended family in Alcaraz talks about a future without it.
While the narrative approach may not be experimental, Simon’s film gathers its strength from the way it revolves around different perspectives and reactions. The loss of a garden carries weight because it creates uncertainty for a family that has been doing this their entire lives. By spreading that weight evenly among the souls—the farm workers and their children who chase the rabbits, the older generation who want to hang on to the farm and their heirs who want to modernize it, and the grandparents. between. Both of which reach for nostalgia.
By allowing each character to occupy a meaningful space in his script, Simon reduces a simple story to a cohesive one that contains layers. Every member of the family either directly experiences or witnesses someone express the anxiety of being the last peach crop. A constant thread of an unknown future underpins the narrative structure even as it interjects welcome segments of levity between siblings, cousins and grandparents.
I Alcaras, We also witness the confidence that Simon has in his craft. She builds around non-professional actors, the visual language of a close-knit family, each of whom is going through a transformation. Packing the Alcarràs’ summer months into a two-hour film, Carla Simon invites the audience into a moment of doubt for a family that has borne the fruit of tradition. By giving him patient treatment, she presents a film that makes for a quiet, yet moving watch.
Alcarràs is now available to stream on MUBI.