OPENING GALA: THE ELDERLY
Dir. Raúl Cerezo, Fernando González Gómez | Spain | 2022 | 95 mins | UK PREMIERE
Octogenarian Manuel lives in an apartment building with his wife Rosa and is struggling with the rising temperatures of the heatwave that the city is currently experiencing. His world is shattered, however, when Rosa abruptly commits suicide by throwing herself from their apartment balcony. Struck with a sense of responsibility to care for his ageing father and determined to avoid putting him in a home, Manuel’s son Mario decides to move him into their family’s already crowded apartment. It’s a choice that doesn’t impress Mario’s pregnant wife Lena, who is not thrilled at the prospect of her father-in-law staying in the room earmarked for their new baby. As they all settle into their new living arrangements, Mario’s teenage daughter Naia expresses concern over her grandfather’s behaviour, which grows increasingly strange and only seems to get worse as the temperatures continue to rise. As other older residents in the city start to exhibit similar unusual behaviour, it becomes clear that something is very wrong with Madrid’s elderly community.
Following their feature debut ‘The Passenger’ (also screening at Celluloid Screams 2022), directors Raúl Cerezo and Fernando González Gómez’s sophomore feature is a chilling masterclass in slow-burn dread that also has a profound message about how we treat our older citizens. As the film’s characters wrestle with family responsibility and societal expectations, giving way to feelings of exasperation and the inevitable accompanying guilt, we witness Manuel’s rapid decline as we hurtle towards the film’s horrifying climax, which serves as a stark warning that we should continue to engage with and listen to our elderly relatives, because if we don’t, perhaps something else will.
Screening with FACIES (EL SEMBLANTE)