Cria Cuervos

Cría cuervos

Country: Spain
Release Date: 26 January 1976
Genre(s): Drama
Director: Carlos Saura
Cast: Ana Torrent, Geraldine Chaplin, Héctor Alterio, Florinda Chico ...
Awards: Cannes Film Festival: Grand Prize of the Jury; French Syndicate of Cinema Critics: Critics Award - Best Foreign Film. Premios ACE: Best Film...

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Cría cuervos

Cria Cuervos - sceneCría cuervos (English: Raise Ravens) is a 1976 Spanish film directed by Carlos Saura. The film is an allegorical drama about an eight year old girl dealing with loss. Highly acclaimed, it received the Special Jury Prize Award at the 1976 Cannes Film Festival.

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.


Ana (Ana Torrent) is an eight-year-old girl growing up in a troubled household — her father Anselmo (Hector Alterio) is a general in the Spanish military during the waning days of Franco’s repressive regime, and her mother (Geraldine Chaplin) is dead, Ana having witnessed her agonizing final moments. Anna, her older sister Irene (Conchita Perez) and younger sister Juana (Maite Sanchez) are looked after by their emotionally chilly Aunt Paulina (Monica Randall), while housekeeper Rosa (Florinda Chico) provides what little warmth there is to be found in the household. While Ana’s mother is gone, the girl frequently sees and hears her mother’s spirit, and is convinced Anselmo’s emotional neglect and infidelity is responsible for her death, leading the youngster to take her own form of revenge against her father.


  • Cannes Film Festival: Grand Prize of the Jury.
  • Cinema Writers Circle Awards, Spain: Best Director: Carlos Saura.
  • French Syndicate of Cinema Critics: Critics Award – Best Foreign Film.
  • Premios ACE: Best Actress: Geraldine Chaplin; Best Director: Carlos Saura; Best Film; Best Supporting Actor: Héctor Alterio.


Directed by: Carlos Saura.
Produced by: Elías Querejeta and Carlos Saura.
Written by: Carlos Saura.
Cast: Ana Torrent, Geraldine Chaplin, Héctor Alterio and Florinda Chico.
Cinematography: Teo Escamilla.
Editing by: Pablo Gonzalez del Amo.
Release date: 26 January 1976.
Running time: 107 minutes.
Country: Spain.
Language: Spanish.

Amazon Customer Reviews

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. But I was surprised by some of her intimate revelations in this one. Another 8-minute conversation with Ana Torrent shot for the Criterion Collection as well (this one in anamorphic widescreen!) is also welcomed, but should have been conducted in Spanish, as the actress is no so fluent with her English.


Saura’s Masterpiece, by A Customer
Once upon a time, there was a dictator who ruled Spain whose name was Franco. While the most famous Spanish director, Luis Buñuel, left the country to work uninhibited in France and Mexico, and the next generation’s most famous director, Almodóvar, was just an infant, Carlos Saura was the director who remained in Spain making films that were critical of the dictatorial regime but escaped the vigilant eyes of the censors because of their subtlety and his use of metaphor and symbolism. Cría is the product of this masterful director who dared to challenge the authoritarian government.

On the surface, it is the story of a young girl, Ana, who is obsessed with death because she witnesses the slow death of her mother from a painful disease; but she also witnesses the infidelities and hypocrisy of the adults that surround her: her father who dies while having intimate relations with a close family friend, an aunt who is left as her guardian who is incapable of affection, and a bawdy maid who doesn’t know how to appropriately deal with this young girl.

When one views the film for a second or third time, he/she realizes that it is a scathing indictment of the treatment of women in traditional Spain, the Spain that Franco was intent on re-creating. There is the invalid grandmother, unable to speak, who symbolizes the forced silence of women or, at least, the failure to take them seriously during the Franco era. There is the mother (exquisitely portrayed by Geraldine Chaplin) who sacrifices her career as a budding concert pianist to become a mother and wife (again, the traditional role of the repressed Spanish woman). Her pleas for help and her insistence that she is ill are ignored by her (equally traditional)unfaithful husband because women and their concerns simply were unimportant. Finally there is the adult Ana who appears in a series of stark interviews who is also portrayed by Chaplin to demonstrate that nothing will change from one generation to the next. (The final scene reinforces this idea.)

Symbolism abounds in this film, and all of it leads to a moving description of the role (or lack thereof) that women occupied in Franco’s Spain.
In short, along with the film “The Hunt” (La caza) this film remains one of Saura’s masterpieces that withstands the test of time and proves to be an historical document of an era as well as a compelling drama in its own right.

Reality and imagination merge for orphaned Ana, by Lawrance M. Bernabo
“Cria!” tells the story of a little girl named Ana (Ana Torrent), who has lost both of her parents. However, they are still in her thoughts, so this captivating work from writer-director Carlos Saura merges her thoughts with reality. Ana continues to talk with her parents, especially her mother, also named Ana and wonderfully played by Geraldine Chaplin (yes, I was surprised to realize it was her in this film as well). Throughout this film you will be wondering what is real and what is imagination, although it is clear as to which is more important to Ana. It is nice to see that this film appears letterboxed and digitally re-mastered with new subtitles. However, if you can watch this film with somebody who knows Spanish you should get them to tell you the words of the song little Ana keeps singing, because it is that song which is her “cry” in this film. One of the strengths of this film is how Saura using camera angles to reflect the little girl’s perspective on the world. This is an intelligent as well as an affective portrayal of a young child dealing with the loss of her parents. Originally released in Spain as “Cria Cuervos,” this film won the Cannes Festival Special Jury Prize.

Absolute cinematic classic, by I. Zorine “Paz-Mir”
For anyone who is looking for this film, this is the definitive DVD version as far as i know. I believe this is the official Spainish DVD. The qulity is excellent, no faults. You do need a multi-regional DVD player if you’re in the US or not in Region 2.

This film should be better known because it’s a classic and a masterpiece. It should be shown in Cinema classes, or at least Spanish cinema. Anyone who enjoyed Ana Torrent in “Spirit of the Beehive” will definetely enjoy her in this performance, she does not look much older, but a little. She does more things, feels more emotions and has a much more developed character – IMO. This movie is deep, and shot in a very creative style. The script is perfect. Anyway, this film is incredible. Very highly recommended.


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Cría cuervos
Cría cuervos (English: Raise Ravens) is a 1976 Spanish film directed by Carlos Saura. The film is an allegorical drama about an eight year old girl dealing with loss. Highly acclaimed, it received the Special Jury Prize Award at the 1976 Cannes Film Festival. Carlos Saura’s exquisite Cría cuervos…...
Posted 02 Nov 2011

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