A cruel crime happened in the village of Alto Sauce twenty years ago: today the case has been reopened and plays a game of mirrors between past and present.
Alto Sauce is a small town in the deep Spanish province. A cruel crime happened in the village twenty years ago. March 20, 1981. Clara Ruiz, 16, was kidnapped and raped in the wood for three entire days. Today the case has been reopened and the members of the community have to face their own statements. Alto Sauce plays a game of mirrors between the past and the present and the lie that has never disappeared.
We’re around Teruel, in Aragon, eastern Spain. The least populated zone in the country. A small community perched on the mountains, where women stretch laundry outdoors, oldies smoke and play cards at the bar, people live on agriculture, hunting and crafts. Tranquility, patience and dedication mark everyday life. The Ruiz case disrupts this placid routine. Investigations immediately converge on Clara’s boyfriend, 23-years-old Ruben Pons. He was the last one seen with the girl. But it was somebody from outside, they say. And something goes wrong. What if the sexual violence Clara underwent never existed? What if Ruben’s suicide in jail was not a suicide? Where’s the truth?
Alto Sauce explores the gulf between the veneer of small-town respectability and the layers of life lurking beneath it. At his first short, director Fernando Pomares constructs an evocative and engaging puzzle that has no edge pieces, rewinding tapes, videos, TV news, reports and evidences. The sheer audacity of the mis en scene is impeccable. Flashbacks and jump cuts co-mingle with extended fluid, glacial and relentless shots. In the vein of David Lynch and David Fincher, the Spanish helmer looks at the Rashomon-style scheme of De Palma’s Redacted, where “we must reconsider the filters through which we see and accept events in our world.” Different points of view and the infinite possibilities of preservation and reproduction of depositions can’t provide evidence. If everything is filmable and under our eyes, what remains is a void, an inhuman bubble. Pomares’ technical prowess and storytelling skill deconstruct the “truth” underlying any story.
ESCAC alumnus and specialized in editing, Fernando Pomares is the postproduction coordinator of the animation production studio Citoplasmas, co-founder of Travelogue Studio, and a member of the collective Non Stop Barcelona Animació which promotes animation in the Catalan city. Alto Sauce was selected in several international festivals and won the Golden Egg at Emir Kusturica’s Kustendorf Film and Music Festival, the Methexis Award at MedFilm Festival in Rome, and the Terres de Lleida Award at Segarra Cercacurts Festival. He has directed his first feature film Death in La Alcarria, musical western shot in a dazzling black and white which premiered at 2015 Visions du Réel.
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