Marshland (15)

Nov 02, 2016
Cranbrook Film Society

“Marshland is a must-see on the big screen.”
– Variety.

A Spanish edge-of-your-seat detective thriller set in the 1980s as the country emerges from dictatorship to democracy.
Two ideologically opposed detectives struggle in an increasingly confused investigation of a serial killer operating in a very murky corner of a former Franco stronghold.


“Rodriguez crafts a brilliant, compelling edge-of-the-seat detective thriller infused with a spirit of uncanny Gothic redolent of David Lynch” – Sight & Sound.

“A satisfyingly atmospheric thriller” – Variety.

Alberto Rodriguez’s sixth feature is constructed round a police investigation of the disappearance of two sisters from a small town called Villafranco, deep in the Guadalquivir Marshes. He sets the film in September 1980, five years after the death of General Franco, in a period of deep political volatility. In this way he throws some light on the deep fissures in Spain’s democratic present by tracing the historic sources of the current entrenched attitudes. It may come as no surprise, given the town’s name, that there is general support in the town for a very far right stance.

The action commences at night, during the annual fair celebrating the Harvest-Home of the excellent rice crop. There are wonderful chase sequences and lots of hints and half-truths that lead the detectives further and further into the labyrinth where the society is as confounding as the alien landscape.

The rich soundtrack by Julio de la Rosa has won several awards by combining the somewhat sinister tones of a mandolin with the ambient sounds of the village fairs and bars, the local wildlife and the ever-present waterways and boats.

The visual style of Alex Catalan the Director of Photography, combines a neo-noir palette with crisp portraiture which reflects exactly the brooding menace underpinning life in this social backwater.

With all this technical brilliance supporting the prize winning performances of Javier Gutierrez and Raul Arevalo it is not surprising that this film has been awarded 44 prizes with another 40 nominations.

David McKerrell

Alberto Rodríguez Librero | Spain | 2014 | 105 mins | 15


            Weighted vote 84.99%