• Name: Errementari
• Year: 2017
• Country: Spain, France
• Director: Paul Urkijo Alijo
• Main cast: Kandido Uranga, Eneko Sagardoy, Uma Bracaglia
• Runtime: 96 minutes
• Production company: Kinoskopik s.l., Pokeepsie Films, Ikusgarri Films
• TRAILER (Euskera with Spanish subtitles only)
Errementari is an old traditional story from the 19th century originary from the Euskadi (Basque Country, Spain). It tells the tale of an old blacksmith (which translated to The Basque language is “Errementari”) that was so evil that even the Devil was afraid of him. In the times of the First Carlist War, a Spanish civil war that lasted from 1833 to 1839, the evil blacksmith killed without mercy a bunch of soldiers and stole a cargo of gold destinated to Tomás de Zumalacárregui, an important Basque Spanish Carlist general. Eight years after, the blacksmith lives isolated in his workshop where he lives, away from everybody and feared by the villagers for they believe he made a pact with the Devil. But then, a young orphan girl playing around the surroundings break into the blacksmith’s dwelling, and the villagers have to face all their fears, with the help of a strange visitor, in order to bring back the calm in their little town.
This dark classic story has been brought to the big screen by young filmmaker Paul Urkijo Alijo. After three short films, including the internationally awarded El bosque negro (2015), this is his feature film debut. He has taken the roles of director, editor, co-writer together with Asier Guerricaechevarría and executive producer. And what we can find in this his first film is a story that wilfully tries to be serious and dark, but sadly doesn’t reach the wanted excellence. The film drives from a very obscure and somehow realistic scenography and cinematography to the excesses of a newby work. And along the running time, it went from very exciting at the first minutes of the movie to fall into a bunch of cliches and not very well solved situations that, in my opinion, break the visual strength the movie was having in its first steps. The overall feeling is that we have seen this movie already a few times and that a very good idea was wasted.
In the terms of the acting, it is very fair to outstand the performance of young Uma Bracaglia in her first film appearance, taking the role of the orphan Usue. She brings a lot of passion and fresh blood to the rest of performances that are closer to the overacting theatre style than the realism a feature film of this kind needs. Some actors like Kandido Uranga and Josean Bengoetxea already have an extense career in Spanish and Basque films, and I can’t help but feel that in Errementari they were not responding to the expectations.
An interesting fact and brave thing to foreground is the fact that the whole movie is spoken in the basque from Álava dialect, almost extinct nowadays, which brings a big dose of authenticity to the story. Because being honest, the global staging of Errementari is above average. Perhaps the hand of producer Álex de la Iglesia, one of the most important Spanish filmmakers from the last decades, is responsible for most of it.
The global feeling after watching Errementari in the main auditorium of the Sitges Film Festival is that the movie might be a decent debut film, but the director has plenty of things to polish. It doesn’t reach to entertain for the whole hour and half of running time, and towards the end of the movie, it is boring due to its lack of originality. And this is a deadly sin for a fantasy horror film, but a too common issue with most of the movies nowadays. Therefore, I think that Errementari is nothing but a peculiar average film.
IMDB URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt5592878
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