Blu-ray/DVD review | Cría cuervos (Raise Ravens) | Carlos Saura's haunting celebration of childhood in fascist Spain gets a UK BFI release

Cria Cuervos

THE STORY Thirtysomething mother Ana (Geraldine Chaplin) reflects on her childhood in 1970s Madrid when, as an eight-year-old (Ana Torrent), she witnessed the death of her adulterous military father, whom she blames for the death of her mother (also played by Geraldine). The young Ana's summer vacation is further disrupted when an uptight aunt arrives at the family’s mansion to look after the orphaned girl, her two sisters and their frail grandmother, and soon clashes with the spirited Ana…

Cria cuervos

THE LOWDOWN Set in the dying days of the Franco regime, 1976's Cría cuervos stands as a landmark of Spanish cinema and speaks volumes as a political parable – on the fate of the country following the Fascist dictator’s death in November 1975 – and about a woman's place under paternalistic authority. It's also an evocative picture of childhood and of the bond between mothers and daughter.

So much could be said here about director Carlos Saura’s intimate and very personal film where history, family and memory collide, that it's best to experience it for yourself. But one scene will forever haunt and delight me, and that is when Ana (a beautifully nuanced peformance by Torrent) and her sisters play dress up while listening to Jeanette’s infectious pop tune Porque te vas (which became a huge hit on the back of this highly-successful film - you can listen to it here and below).

Cria cuervos

THE DISC The BFI’s Dual format edition is a UK first for Saura’s award-winning film (it won the Grand Prize at Cannes in 1977) and features a stunning re-mastered print of the film, plus an on-stage interview and a portrait of the director (DVD only), optional English soundtrack, trailers and collector’s booklet.

Cert 12 | Region 1 | Spanish (English subtitles optional)

Available 27 May 2013