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DCA Archive

Summer 1993
(Estiu 1993)

Carla Simón

Bereavement is seen through the eyes of a six-year-old girl in this assured, visually arresting debut from Catalan filmmaker Carla Simón. A delicate and dreamlike autobiographical drama, written and directed by Simón, it walked away with the Best First Feature at this year’s Berlin Film Festival and Best New Director at the Goya Awards, Spain’s equivalent of the Oscars.

"Lyrical, poetic and sensitive, it’s a distinctive and very impressive debut."

Following the death of both her parents, six-year-old Frida (Laia Artigas) leaves Barcelona and her beloved grandparents for the countryside where she will now live with her uncle Esteve (David Verdaguer) and aunt Marga (Bruna Cusí). Exploring an unfamiliar and alienating rural world, she gradually gets to know her new ‘parents’ and their three-year-old daughter Anna (Paula Robles), but is still burdened by the trauma of her profound and confusing loss, which as a young child she has no idea how to process. Frida struggles to settle into the new family dynamic, despite the best efforts of those around her.

Beautifully crafted, Summer 1993 establishes an evocative sense of place and time, and that the film draws on Simón’s personal recollections can be sensed in every convincingly imagined frame. But it’s nonetheless completely clear-eyed and unsentimental, aided by a truly extraordinary performance from Laia Artigas as the confused young Frida, her eyes full of emotion. Lyrical, poetic and sensitive, it’s a distinctive and very impressive debut.