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Cows (1992)

aka Cows

Directed By: 
Details: 96 mins · Español


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Small Cristina
Small Manuel, Ignacio and Peru Irigibel
Small Catalina
Small Ilegorri/Lucas
No_movie_poster Madalen (als Clara Badiola)
No_movie_poster Manuel
No_movie_poster Carmelo/Juan
No_movie_poster Paulina
No_movie_poster Peru as a child
No_movie_poster Cristina as a child
No_movie_poster Daughter as a child
No_movie_poster Daughter as a child
No_movie_poster Ilegorri/Lucas as a child
No_movie_poster Old Daughter
No_movie_poster Juez


Small Alberto Iglesias Music
Small Julio Medem Director
No_movie_poster Carles Gusi Director of Photography
No_movie_poster Enrique López Lavigne Producer
No_movie_poster María Elena Sáinz de Rozas Editor
No_movie_poster Michel Gaztambide Screenplay
No_movie_poster Fernando de Garcillán Executive Producer
No_movie_poster José Luis Olaizola Executive Producer
Small Julio Medem Writer
No_movie_poster María Elena Sáinz de Rozas Editing


Fighting in the trenches of Biscay in 1875 during the Third Carlist War, Carmelo Mendiluze, an army sergeant, learns from a young errand boy named Ilegorri that Manuel Iriguíbel, his neighbor from his native village, has joined their exhausted battalion. Eager for news of his child's birth, Carmelo befriends the inexperienced soldier whose reputation as an expert aizcolari (competition log cutter) cannot conceal his apprehension and fear of armed combat. Panicking under fire, Manuel drops to the ground and smears himself with blood gushing hot from the neck of his mortally wounded neighbor, Mendiluze. When the battle is over, Manuel crawls out from a cartload of the dead, naked bodies as he is transported away from the front lines. Nobody has seen his escape, except a curious, solitary cow.

Thirty years later, in 1905 in rural Guipúzcoa, a lingering animosity has continued between the Mendiluze and Iriguíbel families. Manuel, now an old man, is still regarded as a coward; he spends his time painting the family’s cows watched over by his three granddaughters, the offspring of his son Ignacio Iriguíbel and his wife Madalen. Ignacio and Carmelo's son, Juan Mendiluze, have maintained family traditions by honing their skills as aizcolari. Despite the strained relations between the neighbors, the destinies of the two families are fatefully interconnected. Juan's sister, Catalina, cannot conceal her romantic interest for Ignacio as she furtively watches him practice cutting logs in the woods - an attraction that proves to be mutual through Ignacio's playful attempts to catch her already piqued attention. Paulina, the Mendiluze widow, warns her daughter that her interest for Ignacio Iriguíbel will bring the downfall of the Mendiluze family. In an attempt to capitalize from the rivalry between the two families, Ilegorri, now a grown man, arranges a waged competition between Ignacio and Juan. Ignacio wins and his career as an aizcolari contender is launched. Catalina and Ignacio start a secret affair.

Ten years later, in the spring of 1915, Ignacio returns home after traveling to national competitions. He now enjoys fame and success. Although Ignacio takes cares of his family farm, he neglects Madalen, his wife. He is promptly reunited with Catalina, and they have a ten-year old son. After the death of their mother, the relationship between the bitter Juan and Catalina is increasingly strained. Juan, still a bachelor, is more obsessed and delusional in his incestuous feelings for his sister. Catalina, afraid of him, wants to escape to America with Ignacio. A close childhood friendship develops between Peru, Catalina and Ignacio's ten-year-old illegitimate son, and his half-sister Cristina; they wander amidst the mountain forest under the supervision of their limp and old grandfather, Manuel. Eventually the boy's parents elope to America and take him with them.

In the summer of 1936, Peru has left his family behind, coming back to Guipúzcoa, as a photojournalist reporting on the Spanish Civil War. The Mendiluze farmhouse is empty. Juan, his uncle, has put on his Carlist red beret, joining the Nationalists. Peru is reunited with Cristina, his half-sister and childhood sweetheart. He stays at the Iriguíbel’s farm. Cristina has had a relationship with Lucas, Iligorri’s son. She shows Peru the last paintings made by their grandfather. The Spanish Civil War comes to the village. The men try to find refuge in the forest when the Nationalists come. Peru and Cristina follow them and are joined by Lucas, who offers to protect them. Lucas is killed and Peru is captured with the surviving men of the region. The men are executed but Peru is spared thanks to the intervention of Juan who recognizes him as his nephew. Reunited with Cristina, Peru and Cristina flee to the French frontier.