This Spanish film tells the story of the fall out from the Civil War and the effects on one family. We see the world through the eyes of Androu, much loved son of a leftist activist and a put upon mother. When the war puts this family on the losing side, the parents separate. His father flees to France and his mother works all hours at the factory to make ends meet. Androu is left in the care of his grandmother and aunt but he is aware of the unfinished sentences and the secrets that circulate around him.
He is intrigued by a young man at the local sanatorium who appears unworldly, especially when Androu is forbidden by him to touch him or come closer. While the youth talks about release from the world, to a young Androu this means freedom from his current situation.
As the story progresses we learn that the activities of his father may not have been as benign as he was led to believe and unguarded comments from widows in the village suggest that his father has much of which to be ashamed. Androu is offered into the guardianship of a local worthy whose fortunes rose as the civil war concluded. Her wish for a son can be met and his wish for an education can be provided. As he finds out more about his own family, his sense of loyalty shifts.
There is one scene, of a violent act, that shows how a young gay man is dealt with by the men of the village when his sexuality is discovered. Many disappeared in the Spanish Civil War and this film shows that the scars were deep.
‘Pa Negre’ is in my hinterland. What’s in yours?