Al sur de Granada

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Al sur de Granada
Al sur de Granada-poster.JPG
Promotional Poster
Directed by Fernando Colomo
Written by Fernando Colomo
Gerald Brenan
Starring Matthew Goode
Verónica Sánchez
Release date
2003
Language Spanish

Al sur de Granada (English title: South from Granada) is a 2003 film written and directed by Fernando Colomo, based on the book by Gerald Brenan. Matthew Goode stars as Brenan, a demobilized soldier who in 1919 rents a house for a year in a village in Alpujarra.

Colomo was inspired to make the film after seeing the character of Brenan appear in another film: Carrington, about Dora Carrington.[1] In that film, Carrington was played by Emma Thompson and Brenan by Samuel West.

Matthew Goode did not know who Brenan was upon taking the role, since Brenan is more familiar to the Spanish than the English. Goode did not speak Spanish, but read Brenan's biography and learned to imitate the phonetic sounds of Spanish.[1]

Plot[edit]

Brenan arrives at Yegen on foot, interrupting the funeral held for the daughter of the local cacique. He collapses from dysentery and soon learns that the local cacique, Don Fernando, is leaving for Granada with his wife. Brenan rents Fernando’s house for a year and soon enlists the services of María as housekeeper and cook and becomes friends with a local man named Paco. Brenan spends most of his time reading, walking, and trying to write poetry.

His friends Dora Carrington, Lytton Strachey (who is ill), and Ralph Partridge visit for a couple of days. Brenan, who has been maintaining a correspondence with Carrington, learns during the visit that Partridge and Carrington are engaged. He is crushed, as he had been in love with Carrington.

One day, Carrington decides to paint the portrait of a local 16-year-old girl, Juliana. Brenan, who had previously seen Juliana bathing naked in a river, falls in love with her. Paco gives him advice on how to win her heart. Brenan, who is quickly learning Spanish and who is called “Don Geraldo” by the locals, decides to make Juliana jealous by accompanying Ángeles, the daughter of María, to church. This backfires, as María now wishes for Brenan to marry Ángeles. Brenan then enlists the services of Juliana as a second housekeeper. Juliana, however, clashes with María. María believes Juliana and her mother are witches. María has a baby: it is Don Fernando’s baby. Brenan is still unable to get close to Juliana and now has two angry women in his home. María sends a naked Ángeles to Brenan’s bed in order to seduce him, but Brenan refuses to sleep with her. As the women continue to fight, Brenan becomes increasingly frustrated, and finally kicks María out of his home (at gunpoint). He and Juliana then finally embark on a relationship. When Ralph Partridge visits again, this time with his new fiancée, Brenan and Juliana join him on a day trip to the beach. Juliana feels that Brenan and Partridge are laughing at her.

When Brenan leaves for Granada with his friends, he fears that Juliana will cheat on him in anger. He asks Paco to watch over her to prevent any of the village boys from seducing her. While Brenan is gone, Paco and Juliana sleep with one another. Brenan is angered when he discovers this, but Juliana convinces him that she still wishes to have Brenan’s child, regardless of whether they are married or not. They resume their relationship and soon Juliana is pregnant. When Brenan is required to return to England temporarily, Juliana fears that he will never return and that she will have to give birth to, and raise, their child alone.

Brenan returns three years later. He is now married to Gamel Woolsey, an American poet. Paco announces he will sell his property to fulfill his dream of immigrating to Buenos Aires. He inquires after Lytton Strachey and Dora Carrington. Lytton has died, and Carrington has committed suicide as a result. Juliana’s child, Elena (named after Brenan’s mother Helen) is now three. She reproves Brenan for not returning to Yegen earlier, but in the end allows him to take their child to be educated and looked after.

The film then fast forwards twenty years. An older Juliana runs into Brenan, Gamel, and a teenaged Elena outside of a pastry shop. Brenan begins to introduce Juliana as Elena’s real mother, but Juliana cuts him off and introduces herself to Elena as Brenan’s former housekeeper at Yegen. Brenan and Juliana part ways rather quickly but catch each other glancing over their shoulders and share a smile.

Cast[edit]

Critical reception[edit]

It was nominated for eleven Goya Awards in 2003 and won one (Mejor música original) for Juan Bardem's score.

References[edit]

External links[edit]