Kids are often in earshot of things they don’t understand and perhaps should not know.
Do you remember being six years old and failing to understand the nuances of adult conversation? The Vernon Film Society brings writer/director Carla Simón’s autobiographical film Summer 1993, to the Galaxy Theatre Wednesday, Nov. 28. The film is told from the perspective of a six-year-old Frida (Laia Artigas) and we, as adults, must deduce the crucial information as it flies over Frida’s head. While the film is about children, it’s not a film for children.
Frida is a lonely orphan; her father died a few years previously and her mother has just died from mysterious causes. It’s summer and Frida has been sent from Barcelona to live with her aunt Marga (Bruna Cusi) and uncle Esteve (David Verdaguer) in the countryside. They have a three-year-old daughter, Anna (Paula Robles), and suddenly giving Anna this difficult older sister has messed with the family dynamic and pre-empted the unspoken question of whether they might have another child.
Director Simón bypasses most of the sentimentality normally associated with a film like this, opting instead for a mature exploration of grief and its aftereffects. You get the sense that Simón is inspecting her childhood processing of loss onscreen through the filter of the reminiscing adult behind the camera. Summer 1993 dissects Frida’s concept of what happened to her parents and why she is now her aunt’s ward.
“Summer 1993 …. has some of the most miraculous child performances I can remember seeing recently, although the concept of “performances” and “acting” are meaningless with children this young: two little girls of six and three years old. There is something awe-inspiring in realising that, to all intents and purposes, what we are seeing is real…. What a lovely film it is,” said Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian.
Summer 1993 will screen Wednesday, at the Galaxy Theatres at the regular times of 5:15 and 7:45 p.m. Tickets are available one week in advance at the Bean Scene for $7. Cash only. Rated G.