After waking up in the night to find her father dead, eight-year-old Ana (the precociously gifted Ana Torrent, star of Victor Erice’s The Spirit of the Beehive) spends her summer vacation navigating fantasy and reality, haunted by the memory of her deceased mother (Geraldine Chaplin).  Shot in the waning years of the Franco regime, Saura’s film is a powerful evocation of the mysteries and terrors of childhood as well as a subtle critique of the legacies of Fascist rule.

“Ana Torrent, Conchita Perez and Maite Sanchez Alexandros constitute the most extraordinary incarnations of childhood I have seen on the screen. To watch these three girls … is to see childhood at long last as a jungle of wild feelings in which death is stared at without flinching” — Andrew Sarris