In theaters: February 11th, 2011 The Sky Turns Copyright © 2010 New Yorker Films
After a 35-year absence, director Mercedes Alvarez returns to her native village Aldealsenor in remote northwest Spain. She was the last child born there; now only 14 aged inhabitants remain. Though her film is intensely personal, Alvarez yields the spotlight to the dwindling but tenacious villagers. The passing years have made them natural philosophers, historians, and comedians -they muse on the transience of things, regard the folly of conquerors from Caesar to Bush, and lace it all with ironic, quintessentially Spanish humor. For the moment, life goes on. Very soon however, without any outward commotion and without anyone to bear witness, it will all come to an end. The final 14 represent the last generation of a people that have carried on more than 1000 years of uninterrupted village life. Soon they will join the other ghosts that haunt these ancient hills - ghosts of dinosaurs, Romans, Moors, and Fascists. Alvarez's proxy within the film is her friend, the painter Pello Azketa. The 14 neighbors from this village and Azketa share something in common: things have begun to disappear before their eyes. Azketa's encroaching blindness mirrors the film's theme of dimming memory and his nebulous landscapes offer a key to the region's austere beauty, its stony heights dotted with lonely, wind-stunted trees that squat beneath a towering sky. From a small patch of ground, Alvarez opens up a vast domain, dissolving the personal into the universal, the fleeting into the timeless, and isolation into a connectedness that reaches high into the heavens and deep into the past.