A film about the artistic process in every sense of the phrase, Spanish director Victor Erice's El Sol del Mebrillo (The Quince Tree Sun) loosely documents the efforts of artist Antonio Lopez to paint the titular foliage in his backyard. Lopez agonizes over just how to capture the light falling on the tree's leaves; he aspires to complete the painting before the fruit falls at the end of the season. Meanwhile, the artist is distracted by unannounced visitors, the debate over the Gulf War, and the filmmaker himself. Sol begins in documentary form, with voiceover narration from Lopez himself, then slowly takes on other qualities: slightly staged narrative storytelling; hypnotic, dream-like nature film; and philosophical meditation on art and mortality. Barely released in the U.S., the film nonetheless made it onto many stateside critics' "Best of the 1990s" lists, and won the International Critics' Prize at the 1992 Cannes Film Festival. Erice's previous efforts include two hallmarks of Spanish cinema, 1973's The Spirit of the Beehive and 1983's Sur.
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