AFI Latin American Film Festival: Marshland (Spain)


NOTE: This is a SPOILER-FREE review.  DC area folks can see this film tomorrow (SAT, 9/19/15) at 9:15PM at AFI Silver.

Marshland shows us a world where everyone is out for themselves.  -Gareth Wood (Maverick Film)

We’re quite familiar w/ the set-up already: missing girls, small town w/ secrets/corruption, and two VERY different homicide detectives (from the big city) brought in to help solve the case.  However, this film is set in Spain in 1980, soon after General Franco was overthrown and the country (struggling economically) became a democracy.  The missing teens are two sisters, Carmen and Estrella, who were known to “have a reputation.”  The cops from Madrid are idealistic father-to-be, Pedro (Raul Arevalo), and jaded, hard drinking Juan (Javier Gutierrez). 


Some frames of the film are based on photographs of Atín Aya, whose work impressed the filmmakers when they knew his work in a retrospective exhibition. -IMDB

I recommend this film for fans of Southern Gothic stories, character dramas, and those who like suspense (NOT only action).  Don’t worry, there are a FEW well done action scenes. On the way, the cops are assisted by Jesus (a local guide), who provides some of the humor in his dark tale.  Jesus gets caught hunting a deer (“Bambi,” he jokes) w/o a license.


The cops work together, BUT also on their own following different leads.  The cinematography in this film is VERY good, as my friend commented.  The location is almost like a character in the story- we see desert, marshes, rivers, and (in the climax) a rainstorm.  If you liked HBO’s True Detective (S1), this is for YOU. 


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