Summer 1993 (Carla Simón, 2017)

On this day I saw Summer 1993, a 2017 film from Spain, and now over a month later it's still circling in my head. Good movies about children are rare, and this is the rarest of them all: a film in which the entire story revolves around a child's inner life. And it does so in a real way. Much like animals are anthropomorphized in the movies, children are often shown as innocents or are seen acting with adult-like motivations, but not in this film. Instead, and with a steady gaze, the camera follows the outwardly-inexplicable behavior six-year-old Frida, who has lost her mother — behavior which can only be understood through what she's slowly processing inside. Only somebody who truly remembers being a kid, and only somebody who has also experienced how grief actually plays out, could make such a film as this, and in fact the story was inspired by the director's own experience. I watched Summer 1993 with a friend at the SIFF cinema in Seattle Center where we sat all alone in the theater, but still, when the lights went up we were not ready for it — I know I could have used more time for my tears to subside. They were good tears, though. See this beautiful movie.

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