There's a charming, painterly quality to Eloy Enciso Cachafeiro's Arraianos that reminds one of a painter or portraitist at work in its crisp, bucolic visuals. The director's brief feature (slightly over one hour) moulds documentary footage of Galician traditions and rural living from the North of Spain into a fantastical patchwork of magical realism, using as starting point the writings of the late local playwright Jenaro Marinhas del Valle.

     In a half-playful, half-whimsical proposition, the documentary footage is tied to a rather loose narrative framework suggesting these are the inhabitants of a lost village deep in the woods - which is sorely let down by the openly fictional moments (especially in the overture) where the locals find themselves having to perform for the camera, suggesting an amateurishness that is entirely absent from the film, with its richly constructed aural environment by sound designers Vasco Pimentel and Tiago Matos, and the dazzling visuals captured by DP Mauro Herce with a RED camera.

     There's something simultaneously very alluring and somewhat bewildering in the way Arraianos elegantly romanticizes a peaceful rural existence and the values of community and hard labour - it's no obvious ethnographic record, but neither is it a heightened fantasy, rather falling somewhere in between (suggesting occasionally some of the looser, more experimental work of Gus van Sant) without striking a proper balance. Yet there is a lot to be complimented in Mr. Enciso Cachafeiro's work, especially on the technical side and the exquisite richness of his stylistic worldview.

Cast: Eulalia González, Aurora Salgado, Celsa Araújo, Antonio Ferreira

Director: Eloy Enciso Cachafeiro 
Screenplay: José Manuel Sande, Mr. Enciso Cachafeiro, Mauro Herce, Manuel Muñoz, from the play O Bosque by Jenaro Marinhas del Valle
Cinematography: Mr. Herce  (colour)
Editor: Mr. Muñoz
Producers: Carlos Esbert, Mr. Enciso Cachafeiro (Ártika Films in co-production with Zeitun Films)
Spain, 2012, 66 minutes

Screened: DocLisboa 2012 official competition advance screener, Lisbon, October 21st 2012

ARRAIANOS - Trailer from Artika Films on Vimeo.


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