Seven women play the principal part in Ana’s life and they embrace all women of the world. The sisters: the 5-years old innocent Maite, and the eleven years old elder Irene in her puberty, the in herself disappeared grandmother, the loving and suffering mother, the cold egocentric substitute aunt Pauline, the open-hearted Rosa and the femme fatale Amelia.With the mother the child being is protected with all love and warmth surrounded. Touching is the night episode in which Ana can’t sleep and in her imagination goes downstairs to her mother, who takes care of her, plays the ‘wrong’ melodies on the piano, then playing Ana’s favourite melody but not before blowing magically in her hands, after which Ana relaxes and falls asleep directly, ultimate peace, the transcendent moment that means all is safe and good, against the chaos of the world. The scene is expressing a strong tenderness. In Piano Etude 19 this scene will be performed, in two perceptions, together with the incredible music of Mompou.
With the grandmother –also without a name, Ana is suddenly the protector and help in evoking her disappearing memories as an established ritual of grace, during which her endless passing takes its form. Ana leads this ritual in the liturgy and also becomes a spectator: she is looking at her intensively and for a long time, at this miraculous ecstasy until her elder sister finally takes her away to come and play outside.
With Rosa Anna learns the rawness and warmth of ordinary life, she learns to know the world in her greediness, beautiful is the scene in which Ana asks if she is allowed to see Rosa’s breasts and the woman does so and Ana sighs: ‘They are really big!’
In aunt Pauline we see the contrary: duty, distance, rules of manners, the absurdity of regulated bourgeoisie. In Amelia Ana recognizes the femme fatale, the woman who destroys relationships, especially of her parents. She is witness of her father’s death, during love-making with Amelia, the woman who stands for a model of seduce and adultery.
And then, at the end, you have the sisters, the eldest, Irene, who in her early puberty is more obsessed by herself then by the world, and the youngest Maite, still completely playful and in a magical world: ‘I was not yet born when mama died.’, she says as an excuse and is pointing out to Ana who has told her the facts.
In all women the femininity is researched and expressed, but just in the eyes of Anna gets its final shape and meaning.
What does this view look like? Ana’s way of looking has an extraordinary intensity, hidden in a complex of layers. Her look is completely open, but also dark, as a door through which all can enter. That open look seems to be almost neutral, without a sort of comment on what happens and what could be disturbing this happening.
Her look witnesses a strong natural curiosity, never faked or coded, bur real and true. She takes a lot of time for this eager curiosity, in that sense she is unlimited and full of surrounding. Her looking walks together with wordless silence,which through this all attention and all energy is coming together in the looking itself and can integrate, as in not coming from her place during the play to find the hidden sisters, in looking around very slowly.
Ana’s look is stretching out until her total being, her total body: a slow, almost sneaky walking into the direction of the sound, to know the right distance to be able to see without to disturb and to be able to be away on time. Her look is absorbing and searching for meaning for what she sees, especially what admires her: the strange abominable world of adults, so gracelessly ticking into the children’s world. There’s no innocence, there’s no natural goodness, all has to be weighted by her look and to become understandable.
In her view there is agreement or denial, good or evil, life or death; her look is radical and graceless, there’s no distinction of in between, no maybe or compromise. Her look is honest and justice: who love gives, gets love, who love kills can be better dead himself. And whom love gives and still dies, then she is evoking him to life again. In that sense her look is a continuous wrestling with death, facing it straight forwardly. In that sense her look is immortal.
And in this her beauty is hidden, and the beauty of this movie, the design, the performance, the becoming visible of this immortal look, who directs her acting through the pain of life, to give her choices depth.
When I look at Ana I recognize the little boy of nine years old, I can be sometimes now, in a picture or in your eyes, in a wooden horse of a merry-go-round, or in a garden and I go with her in this look back to the moment I was nine and am looking with the years at the Ana’s of this world, the poets Anna Achmatova and Anna Enquist, the writers Anne Frank, Anne Philippe en Anna Sébastian, friends Anna de Jong, Anna van Oosterom, Anne Huijnen, Anne Hulst, the pianiste Anna Vanickova, the tennis player Anna Kournikova, the actress Ana Torrent, friends as Ana Rios -how could I forgot her in her care for children-, Anna Buwalda and Anna Prins, my niece Anna Lakmaker and above all my own Anna with whom our love starts in the same year as Saura’s Cria Cuervos.
They are guiding me by their beauty and their gaze leads to the secrets of life.
filmstills:Teodoro Escamilla, 1976