Poachers | Chicago Reader

Poachers

Jose Luis Borau's bleak but potent oedipal drama, the first Spanish film after 1939 to be released without an official exhibition permit, opened two months before the death of Franco in 1975, and its candor and sharp psychological portraiture helped to usher in the new Spanish cinema. Turning on its head the generalissimo's famous quote comparing Spain to a peaceful forest, it charts the love triangle involving a meek young man (Ovidi Montllor) and his possessive mother (Lola Gaos), who run the village inn and poach in the neighboring woods, and a reform-school runaway who captures the son's heart. Borau plays the bumbling governor, who drops in with his entourage amid a hunting expedition. The film exposes the emotional booby traps lurking beneath the scrupulously maintained calm, and despite some blatant symbolism, its critique of fascist Spain is both sly and highly realistic. 88 min.

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