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Cria Cuervos (The Criterion Collection) (1976)

Geraldine Chaplin , Mónica Randall , Carlos Saura  |  Unrated |  DVD
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Geraldine Chaplin, Mónica Randall, Florinda Chico, Ana Torrent, Héctor Alterio
  • Directors: Carlos Saura
  • Writers: Carlos Saura
  • Producers: Elías Querejeta, Pedro El Samu
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Criterion
  • DVD Release Date: August 14, 2007
  • Run Time: 110 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000QXDFR6
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #174,112 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Cria Cuervos (The Criterion Collection)" on IMDb

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

Carlos Saura’s exquisite Cría cuervos… heralded a turning point in Spain: Shot while General Franco was on his deathbed, the film melds the personal and the political in a portrait of the legacy of fascism and its effects on a middle-class family (the title derives from the Spanish proverb: "Raise ravens and they’ll peck out your eyes"). Ana Torrent (the dark-eyed beauty from The Spirit of the Beehive) portrays the disturbed eight-year-old Ana, living in Madrid with her two sisters and mourning the death of her mother, whom she conjures as a ghost (played by an ethereal Geraldine Chaplin). Seamlessly shifting between fantasy and reality, the film subtly evokes both the complex feelings of childhood and the struggles of a nation emerging from the shadows.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
33 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars CRIA CUERVOS... Y TE SACARÁN LOS OJOS August 9, 2007
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Finally, it appears, Criterion is getting around to releasing some of the many great Spanish films of the past decades. High time they noticed there have been some astounding Spanish films and directors beyond Luis Buñuel, undoubtedly the great master. But Saura, Berlanga, Bardem, Borau, Erice, Bigas Luna, and quite a few more I could name, have directed some masterpieces that also deserve the special Criterion teatment. After the recent and excellent release of El Espíritu de la Colmena (Spirit of the Beehive), now comes Cría Cuervos, a fascinating parable, somewhere between fantasy and reality, that beyond the too obvious symbolism of a country finally liberating itself from a long dictatorship, it is an intelligent exploration of the scary world of troubled childhood. And Ana Torrent (the same girl of Spirit of the Beehive) speaks volumes just with those incredible dark eyes. My copy is in its way, but I don't doubt Criterion transfer and worthy extras will deserve a 5-star rating.

UPDATING: Having just received my copy, I can say I am very pleased with the excellent transfer of the movie. It looks great. But I am even more impressed by the extras on the second disc:. Mainly, a wonderfully insightful portrait of Carlos Saura (more than one hour long), produced by TVE (state-run Spanish tv) in 2004 -unfortunately in a non-anamorphic widescreen transfer-, which I found as interesting as the film itself. Also a 20-minute incredibly candid and perceptive interview in English with Geraldine Chaplin (done for Criterion in 2007 susprisingly not in widescreen). I had the pleasure of interviewing the actress some years back for a Spanish publication and I knew how good and revealing she was in conversation with the press, unlike most film actors.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent film September 19, 2007
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
This review is for the Criterion Collection DVD edition of the film.

Cría cuervos known in Ebglish as "Raise Crows" is about three sisters focusing on the middle one (Ana Torrent) and her childhood after the death of her parents. The film drifts through time and reality as she has visions of her dead mother (Geraldine Chaplin).

I found the film to be very well made and an excellent inclusion of the Spanish pop song "Porque te vas" by Jeanette. I had never heard of the song before watching this and really like the style of the song.

The film is said to be based on the end of an era in Spain. The film was made while Franco was dying and is based on what was to come afer he died.

The special features are as follows. Disc one contains the film with the theatrical trailer. Disc two contains "Portrait of Carlos Saura" a documentary on Saura's films. There are also interviews with Ana Torrent and Geraldine Chaplin.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Ana (played by 9-year-old Ana Torrent) is one of three daughters in a wealthy Madrid family. The plot of "Cria Cuervos" is nonlinear and somewhat difficult to describe without giving away too much. However, what is revealed very early is that Ana's mother has died of cancer, for which Ana blames her philandering father. Ana tries to kill her father with what she thinks is poison, and he dies of an apparent heart attack. During the rest of the movie, Ana struggles to adjust to living with her aunt, and we see in flashback some of the arguments between her parents.

I was expecting "Cria Cuervoes" to be a thriller, but instead it's more of a psychological drama. Nevertheless, I found it fascinating. "Cria Cuervos" is exceptionally well acted and the direction by Carlos Saura is superb. I have never particularly liked Geraldine Chaplin, but she's very good here, even somewhat sexy at times. Notably, she was in a long-term relationship with Saura, and he obviously knew how to bring out her best acting. "Cria Cuervos" takes its time telling the story and isn't afraid to include scenes that add tone and atmosphere, such as Ana and her sisters dancing to "Porque te vas," which later became a global hit for Jeanette. Even though the plot is somewhat slow and never really takes off as I expected, I was fully rapt during the entire movie and was even sorry when it ended. I wanted to see more of this world.

The movie offers an astute examination of how a child might try to process confusing arguments between her parents. Ana clearly sides with her mother and against her military father. The movie has some political overtones and was made in the final months of the Franco regime against which director Saura was a vocal opponent.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
As a very thinly veiled allegory about the Franco regime, this film works quite well. Showing the military uniforms at the funeral and then the song "Porque te vas," which was popular with the anti-Franco youth, are absolute dead giveaways. Saura obviously wanted to show the kind of negative effects fascism has on the long-term health of a society. The severely pathological behavior of Ana is clearly symbolic. The war game where she kills her siblings and then brings them back to life through prayer shows the relationship of the fascists to the Church. All the females in the film are severely impaired in different ways, showing the deleterious effects of the Franco regime and conservative Catholicism on women, whose roles were extremely restricted. All the tight-shot cinematography focuses the viewer on the children, while the city and all its noise are viewed in wide shots to make it seem threatening and brutal, like Spanish society at the time. The use of city noise was very good....a little bit reminiscent of Fellini's even more stunning use of sound in "Roma."

I still have the same trouble with this film that I had the first time I saw it many many years ago. When Ana doesn't react at all to seeing her father dead, we suspect there is symbolism going on here, because even a child who resented her father would show some sort of emotion. Then, when she doesn't react at all to her mother's agony, we clearly see that Saura is using symbolism to show how Spanish society was being traumatized, since we know that Ana loved her mother.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful child actor
The little girl is a treat to watch and I liked the song she plays on her audio device. Most enjoyable movie
Published 13 months ago by Lynn
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent film- bad quality product for technical reasons
This review may contain spoilers ***

I agree with some other reviewers: I think this might just be my favorite film of all time. Read more
Published on January 10, 2011 by lyceemoliere
4.0 out of 5 stars Nice movie! / Buena película!
Me parecen acertados los comentarios que subrayan los elementos de grisura y aislamiento presentes en el ambiente de una casona, y en la severa impenetrabilidad del mundo adulto... Read more
Published on August 16, 2010 by GeraldBostock1972
5.0 out of 5 stars Saura the only director to survive Franco's Spain
Ana Torrent(the dark-eyed beauty from The Spirit if the Beehive) portrays the disturbed 8 year old Ana,living in Madrid with her two sisters,mourning the death of her mother whom... Read more
Published on July 17, 2010 by technoguy
5.0 out of 5 stars Secret of Ana
It is hard to be a child no matter what country or times you live in. It is unbearably painful for a child to lose their most beloved and close person in the world, to miss them... Read more
Published on May 8, 2009 by Galina
4.0 out of 5 stars What I look for in movies.
The movie drags excessively in a couple of parts, but most of the pace is appropriate. The confused depictions of reality authentically mirror a child's perspective. Read more
Published on January 21, 2009 by From Elder
5.0 out of 5 stars Very intense
Very intense and well made film set in 1970s Spain under the Franco regime. I haven't watched the extras yet, but the transfer is excellent, and the actors are fantastic,... Read more
Published on June 21, 2008 by MarkusG
5.0 out of 5 stars deeply moving film
I watched this movie a couple of times, for the first time back in mid 1970s while in high school. I was moved already then but probably did not understood everything "properly". Read more
Published on December 24, 2007 by colonel Misiak
5.0 out of 5 stars A STORY OF REPRESSION
You can't go wrong with this Criterion edition of Carlos Saura's masterpiece. Bonus features include a great documentary about the director and recent interviews of Geraldine... Read more
Published on October 6, 2007 by Daniel S.
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