The Shepherd (El Pastor)
Director: Jonathan Cenzual Burley
Cast: Miguel Martin, Alfonso Mendiguchia, Juan Luis Sara, Maribel Iglesias
Genre: Drama, Neo-noir
Language: Spanish with English subtitles
Country of Origin: Spain 2016 98 mins. (15)
Winner Best Film, Best Director and Best Actor (Miguel Martín) 2016 Raindance Film Festival; Grand Jury Prize for Best Film at the Latinita Festival de Cine Espanol y Latinoamericano February 2017
Released by Matchbox Films
Greed and the power of money runs through Jonathan Cenzual Burley's award winning tale of a shepherd and developers who want his land for a quick kill. The film has that low key, off-beat touch that hits the quality bulls eye full on and Miguel Martin is terrific in the central role of Anselmo, who tends his sheep on a small plot of land in Salamanca, Central Spain. Some would say it's a lonely life, some may say it's a life that's had it's day. Anselmo a quietly contented man with his sheep, his dog Pillo, the desolate landscape and a glass of wine. Spain's on a build, build roll but Anselmo loves his land and he won't sell. Slaughterhouse owner Julian (Alfonso Mendiguchia) and hen pecked Paco (Juan Luis Sara) will do the company's dirty work - they're in debt, the vultures hover and they'll do whatever it takes to get his land. Greed and self interest reigns. How could anyone not be interested in money? Anselmo could sell the flock to Julian, move to the town and there'd be cash left over. Anselmo, the man who reads Dickens, a man alone who won't sell the land he loves and give up a life few can understand. Only Conchi (Maribel Iglesias), the librarian understands. The battle begins, a modern western unfolds.
'The Shepherd' is masterful cinema, beautifully shot, with a terrific low-key central performance and great supports throughout. It's a gem, a should see, must see, don't miss movie.