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POACHERS

Spain, 1975 (MIFF 1976)

Director: José Luis Borau

Angel lives with his mother Martina in an old hunting lodge in the heart of an Iberian forest. He is an introverted young man dominated by his suspicious, brandy-swigging mother. His only occupation is the hunting of wild game and deer. He doesn't have a licence and he comes up against the pompous, bumbling provincial governor, played by the film's director, Jose Luis Borau.

One day when Angel has gone to the provincial capital to buy traps and nooses, he meets a girl who is under age, Milagros, the lover of a notorious petty criminal, El Cuqui. Milagros has escaped from the reformatory where she was sent after she was found in the company of the delinquent. Angel suggests she should go to the mountains and live with him. Milagros, who is looking for a safe hideout while she waits for her lover to get out of prison, accepts. She explains to Angel that when Cuqui returns, she will leave with him.

Angel falls in love with the girl, and Martina's obsessive jealousy of Milagros finally leads to tragedy.

'What distinguished this curiously hot-house tale from the usual Spanish baroque is Borau's free and lyrical handling of the relationship between the two young people and the illumination of the stuffy hypocrises of the older generation.'

Darek Malcolm, The Guardian

'Though yarn is fairly intricate in the inter-relations among the characters and their motivations, thanks to beautifully crisp photography by Luis Cuadrado and expertly controlled helming by Borau, the elemental story is always convincing and believable.'

Besa, Variety

Golden Shell, San Sebastian 1975; Bronze Hugo, Chicago 1975

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