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Destello Bravío. 2021. Spain. Directed by Ainhoa Rodríguez. In Spanish; English subtitles. 98 min.
A small town in southwestern Spain provides the setting for Ainhoa Rodríguez’s singular vision, a prismatic, alternately realist and uncanny rendering of lives in the rural Extremadura region. Adding surreal touches to a nonfiction framework, Rodriguez casts nonprofessional actors who add an oddball authenticity to this portrait of a community, especially focused on the secret desires and mysterious energies of its women as well as its religious ceremonial pageantry. With controlled long takes and compositional rigor, Rodríguez pays eccentric tribute to the largely autonomous part of the world where she was raised, and where the yearning for magical deliverance is the only hope of escape from outmoded patriarchal and spiritual beliefs.
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