Opening 11 Aug 2022
Farmer Quimet (Jordi Pujol Dolcet) lives with his wife Dolors (Anna Otin), daughter Iris (Ainet Jounou), and twin sons Pau and Pere (Isaac and Joel Rovira) on a peach plantation, the source of their livelihood. Their future is suddenly questionable when rows of trucks stream by. The grandfather owns the house, but not the land; their peach trees will be cut down and replaced by solar panels. Quimet joins neighbors in a protest demonstration. Should one forget farming and work for the solar-panel company, perhaps “working less and earning more.” We meet members of Quimet’s extended family, including his sister Nati, with eventually fifteen family members in all.
Director Simón resourced memories from her personal experiences, when growing up. Her grandfather owned a peach plantation in Alcarràs, Catalonia, Spain, where she filmed, and which was the home of the many extras in the cast. This is not a debate about agriculture versus environmental energy, as one might expect. Solar panels don’t appear until almost 55 minutes into the film. This is about family: a grandfather who neglected to sign property ownership papers, a furious father who seeks a solution, and children, who eagerly watch the changes (and carry the film, not only with excellent acting, but also with their songs).
Alcarràs won best film at the 2022 Berlin International Film Festival. It should appeal to filmgoers looking for artistic qualities, rather than to viewers expecting to be entertained for two hours. The German title translates to “The Last Harvest,” or just one of the problems of a three-generation family, leaving us with no expectations or ever coming to a conclusion. (Becky Tan)