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Generally favorable reviews - based on 5 Critics What's this?

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  • Summary: The Sky Turns is a contemplation of time, memory, and mortality. After 35 years, Álvarez returns to her native village, Aldealseñor, in remote northwest Spain. She was the last child born there; now only 14 aged inhabitants remain. They represent the final generation of a people after more than 1,000 years of uninterrupted village life. Soon they will join the other ghosts that haunt these ancient hills – ghosts of dinosaurs, Romans, Moors, and Fascists. Though her film is intensely personal, Álvarez yields the spotlight to the dwindling but tenacious villagers. The passing years have made them natural philosophers, historians, and comedians – they muse on the transience of things, regard the folly of conquerors from Caesar to Bush, and lace it all with stoic, quintessentially Spanish humor. Álvarez’s proxy within the film is her friend Pello Azketa, a painter whose encroaching blindness mirrors the theme of dimming memory. Azketa’s nebulous landscapes offer a key to the region’s austere beauty, its stony heights dotted with lonely, wind-stunted trees that squat beneath a towering sky. From a small patch of ground, Álvarez opens up a vast domain, dissolving the personal into the universal, the fleeting into the timeless, and isolation into a connectedness that reaches high into the heavens and deep into the past. (Anthology Film Archives) Collapse
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 4 out of 5
  2. Negative: 0 out of 5
  1. Reviewed by: Eric Hynes
    Feb 9, 2011
    80
    What elevates The Sky Turns beyond a lovely little elegy and into the realm of greatness is Álvarez's refusal to shape the film as a tragedy.
  2. Reviewed by: Andrew Schenker
    Feb 9, 2011
    80
    Nothing speaks more elegantly to the bewilderment of the locals than a long shot of newly built windmills lining a distant hilltop while a villager, made tiny by Álvarez's framing, looks on in the foreground, swallowed up by the forces of history.
  3. Reviewed by: Matthew Nestel
    Feb 9, 2011
    80
    Big questions are tackled in this little documentary, the same ones that have been danced with for centuries.
  4. Reviewed by: V.A. Musetto
    Feb 11, 2011
    75
    Beautifully composed documentary.
  5. Reviewed by: Mike Hale
    Feb 10, 2011
    60
    The overall effect is one of lulling beauty and immersion in the landscape and culture - certainly enough to carry you through the film - but also an irritating sensation of being led by the nose through Ms. Álvarez's highly aestheticized ruminations.

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