A Lavish Production
While not a very successful adaptation of the novel by Vicente Blasco Ibáñez. “La Barraca” is Roberto Gavaldón’s masterpiece that won all the top Ariels (Mexican national film prize) awards in1945, including best film, direction, screenplay, cinematography, actor, supporting actor, film editor, music, art direction and sound.
The production is lavish, and the intentions were good. There was a lot invested in special effects and casting many Spanish actors who were refugees from the Civil War, making Mexican locales pass for Sevilla. However, a weak script hurt the film The first hour or so is dedicated to illustrate all the hardships of a foreign family that arrives in town and occupies an abandoned “barraca” (a cabin) to work the land nearby. That land is the property of the family responsible for the tragedy of the first occupants.
The community considers the cabin and land to be haunted, but everybody is so mean (except for an old shepherd) that it seems it is the people who are really possessed by evil spirits for all they wrong they do to the family members, including the death of the youngest child.
The script accumulates tragedy after tragedy, and then spends around 30 minutes of happy times with folk music, dances and serenades and then returns to tragedy for the last 15 minutes.