Amama means grandma in Euskera, the language of the Basque Country, where the film comes from. The movie is also located there, in that region from the northern Spain and is entirely in Euskera's language. Even though the tittle, the main character on the movie is not the grandma – at least activity in the story- but the grandchild Amaia. She is the one who, without purpose, breaks the tradition of a family who live and work in a farm and seem to be holding on to the past; past and present, the rural and the urban life, the different generations between parents and children. The film speaks of the difficulty for some people to progress and adapt themselves to the present live -the rude father in this case and even the submissive mother-, but also about the family and the importance to maintain the local traditions.
Tomas and Isabel own a caserío in the countryside and they see how their children look for their own way in the city, far from their roots. Amaia is the strongest, the rebel as they say, but in fact she is the only one who stays there and take care of them.
The director Asier Altuna tells us this personal story (but not autobiographic, indeed is a kind of adaptation of a poem by Kirme Uribe) making poetry with his camera, focusing at the environment that involves everything, at the forest, the valley, the family house, etc., as a micro-universe inside the Basque land. He combines the oneiric scenes -brightly colored and special textured scenes where the protagonist is the grandmother in the forest –with the scenes that relate to the daily life and the story itself. The characters don't speak too much, but they say a lot with their way of looking. Some elements of the story are told through a series of metaphors (for example, the trees they plant every time there is a new born, trees that represent the roots and the branches of a family) and every single detail on the scene seems to be very studied, not there by accident. The film is full of contrasts, between the members of the family (the parents, both brothers), the rural and the urban life, the profession of Amaia, the lazy character of the brother, the obsessive father...
In Amama, the main conflict is the difficult relationship between father and daughter; she lives in the city and works with a computer, meanwhile the father only knows about farming and carpentry, always working with his worn-out hands. However, Amaia and her father have something in common; both show their affection by the only way they know, the art – Amaia with contemporary art and the father with his skills in carpentry-. But for the stubborn father (brilliant Kandino Uranga in his intense and contained role), Amaia poses a threat to the traditions, to the unity of the family and the preservation of the farm. The fights and problems among the members of this family are always reflected from the point of view of the Amama, the grandmother who sits down and observes everything in silence, with her deep and intense blue eyes.
Asier Altuna narrates with in a slow tempo and takes his time in every situation, every moment, as slow as the times goes by in that caserío in the middle of the countryside; a perfect technique in order to reflect some aspects of the society still alive in some places inside the Basque Country.
Name: Laura Perez Gomez
"Amama" by Asier Altuna (SP)
San Sebastian Film Festival 2015 - Oficial Selection