An unconventional portrait of a small village trapped out of time and located on the Galicia-Portugal border, Eloy Enciso Cachafeiro’s Arraianos is one of those rare films where description is inadequate: like the land...展开scape of the village of Arraianos itself, it’s something to experience. Staged Straubian moments of fiction stand alongside documentary moments of everyday village life, with the nameless “actors” farming, sitting in the local bar and singing traditional songs in their specific regional tongue and telling old wives’ tales. We’re never far away from nature--the noisy presence of animals is inescapable--as is the enveloping forest, a place that takes on mythical qualities. But storytelling may be the key, as the film visualizes oral history--a visualization that’s needed, as at one point, when an older lady starts to sing, the lyrics go unremembered.
The fictional elements of the piece come from a play by Marinhas del Valle, The Forest, written in the 1960s as a parable of Franco’s dictatorship, but also a great portrait of the Galician soul, their tragic existentialism. The film’s documentary elements thus present a more frontal portrait of the soul of these autarkic people. As the seasons change and the signs of apocalypse grow--a fire rages in the forest--one man promises salvation, while another proclaims the end of the world is coming... In this moving work, memory floats in space, and a way of life dies before one’s eyes.