MVFF: The Year and the Vineyard (B)

One thing I love about film festivals is the opportunity to screen movies that are so low-budget that they’ll never get a distributor and therefore never appear in theaters. Some of the most creative work falls into this category. The Year and the Vineyard (El Año y la Viña) is such a film.

The budget for Jonathan Cenzual Burley’s charming second feature was approximately zero. It was shot in a small Spanish town where he spends his summers and many of the cast members are from his family.

The style of the film was aptly described as magical realism. The protagonist, a Sicilian soldier on his way to fight in the Spanish Civil War in 1937, somehow falls through a hole in the sky and ends up in 2012 in a Spanish vineyard. Both he and the local townspeople try to come to grips with what has happened. Is he an angel? A saint? Should he stay, or should he try to get back to 1937, the war and Isabella, his fiancé?

It’s funny and smart. But it’s also lacking in production values. (It has the look of being shot with a DSLR and a not-very-good lens.) But if that doesn’t bother you, I recommend this film. Of course, you probably can’t find it except at festivals. Maybe online at some point.

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