When a Tree Falls (Amama)
Directed by Asier Altuna • Drama • With Iraia Elías, Kandido Uranga, Amparo Badiola • 2015 • 103 minutes
Along with this year’s Oscar submission LOREAK, this powerfully visualized drama of generational conflict signals the emergence of a vital Basque regional cinema in Spain. The crux of the film is a farm, spectacularly situated in the mountainous northeast, that has remained in the same family for countless generations. But, when the eldest son and heir apparent, like so many of the region’s young people, decamps to the city, the burden passes to his sister Amaia (Elias), an artist whose progressive ways place her at odds with her rigidly traditionalist father (Aranga). The film’s title, which means “Grandma” in Basque, refers to the family matriarch who will play a pivotal role in Amaia’s attempt to bridge the divide between tradition and evolution.
“If you want to be thoughtfully melancholy for a couple of hours in the presence of images of striking beauty, watch Amama.” —The Hollywood Reporter