Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan

The South (El Sur)

(Spain, France, 1983)

Sometimes you just can’t catch a break. This marks two evenings in a row that we were lured into watching a movie that just stops, with no resolution. As I said in my review of I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead, it is possible to make me like an ending like that, but it’s very rare. I hated the ending of that one, and I’m stunned by the ending of this one. I won’t even warn you of spoilers, because I think you should be warned that the movie just stops in the middle of the story.

A young girl (played by two young girls at different ages) is growing up in the north of Spain, where it apparently snows a lot. She adores her father, a melancholy doctor who dabbles in minor occult things like water-witching. This is 1958, and he was involved in the anti-Franco side of the Civil War, which seems to be the reason why he is holed up in the hinterland. But no one seems to be actively pursuing him. She becomes aware that he is carrying a torch for a minor movie actress he had an affair with before getting married. She tries to learn more, but is finally brought to an abrupt halt by his suicide. So she is to be sent to the south (el sur) to stay with relatives, and intends to pursue the elusive woman from there. The End.

Whaaaaaaaaaaat? The goddam story was just getting started! I did a little research and found that the reason it ends there is either that the producer just thought it should end there, or he ran out of money. It was based on a novel, and only the first half was filmed. The director regarded it as an unfinished project, and boy, is he right. In spite of this, the critics love this thing. This critic loved it, too, and was really, really pissed off that it just stopped. I just can’t recommend it.