Tasio (1984) Cannes Film Festival 2024

May 14th, 2024
Author: Meredith Taylor

Dir: Montxo Armendariz | Spain, Drama 93′

A young man grows up in the rural surroundings of Spain’s Navarra region in Armendar’s poignant ethnographical portrait of working lives that echoes Victor Erice’s  El Sur, created two years previously.

Armendáriz adopts a meditative approach to his minimalist depiction of Tasio’s powerfully visceral world that comes to life in Jose Luis Alcaine’s incandescent camerawork. Spare of dialogue yet speaking volumes, the film shows how Tasio ekes out a modest existence making charcoal. It’s a slow-burning (quite literally!) and arduous process: wood is piled into enormous mounds and then set alight  as it gradually smoulders into a sooty mound of dense black remains. Tasio, the `carbonero’, pokes and prods the mass making sure it gets just enough just air to continue its process in a centuries old cottage industry that still exists in parts of Spain.

The film was shot on the borders of the Basque Country (Euskadi), in the extreme west of Navarra (Navarre) around the villages of Aranarache, Eulate, Urra, Baquedano and Zudaire, villages forming the area known as Améscoa not far from the bosky slopes of the Sierra de Urbasa. A simple but noble look at times gone by. @MeredithTaylor


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