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El Sol del Membrillo 1992
Description: Filmmaker Victor Erice follows Spanish artist Antonio Lopez in his painstaking attempt to paint the photo of a tree.
Released: 02 Apr 1993 Director: Víctor Erice Writers: Víctor Erice, Antonio López Actors: Antonio López, María Moreno, Enrique Gran, María López Genres: Documentary, Biography, Drama
Trailers and related videos:

See El Sol del membrillo - Víctor on youtube.

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See El sol del membrillo - Víctor on youtube.

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See El sol del membrillo, Víctor E on youtube.

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See El Sol Del Membrillo (2013) [S on youtube.

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See RAMITO DE MEJORANA - LÓPEZ - G on youtube.

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See El sol del membrillo (escena d on youtube.

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See El Sol del Membrillo on youtube.

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See Fragmento final de 'El sol on youtube.

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See Antonio López García 1.936 on youtube.

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See Antonio Lopez: encuentro con e on youtube.

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El Sol del Membrillo Reviews:

This is a gem of a film and much better than the several reviews I've read. I was prepared for some semi-documentary about the techniques of painting. What I saw was a movie filled with warmth, humor, love, and a deep appreciation of nature and the mysterious beauty of the world. I don't think I'll ever be able to look at a tree or a piece of fruit (or anything in nature for that matter) in quite the same way. This movie place me in touch with the things that are truly meaningful in life, somewhat akin to Wim Wenders movie `Wings of Desire'. It is simple, yet glowing and sensual, filled with superb cinematography and pretty music. One of the greatest movies I've ever seen.


If you can search this film, and can take slow-moving cinema, definitely pick it up. I came to it via Spirit of the Beehive, Victor Erice's first film, made in 1973. This movie was his third, made nearly twenty years later. It's somewhat sad that such a marvelous artist as Erice has only produced three movies in almost thirty years now, but I think Quince Tree of the Sun works in one method as a forgiveness for that fact. This movie teaches nothing if not patience, not only in the viewer, but in the artist. It is a documentary about a painter who spends September through December painting a quince tree. Not a picture of one, mind you, or even one he has memorized. He sets up an elaborate system so that he can paint the tree as it exists before him. We see him working well at first, with the sun hitting the tree and its fruit exactly how the painter wishes. But then the weather becomes uncooperative for a long period of time. It's cloudy or rainy, and the sun is not working the method that it's supposed to. By the time it becomes sunny again, the World has moved, and all hope of painting it in the method he originally intedended is squandered. Of course he can't just wait until the next year. The fruit and leaves will be different.During the film, there are few discussions about art and life. All are interesting. Too terrible the subtitles on the Facets video are type of difficult to read at times. There is a lot to receive out of it, surely more than I did in one viewing. A second viewing is definitely in order if I have time before I have to return the video. It is one of those movies that suggests that there is a ton more under the surface that will take just a small bit of digging. Of course, this movie would bore the socks off of 99% or more of the population. I definitely recommend it to fanatics of Spirit of the Beehive. Also, fanatics of Andrei Tarkovsky could check it out, this and Spirit of the Beehive. I generally think of Tarkovsky as the most original of all movie artists, but Erice may be the most similar. He's a very nice auteur for Tarkovsky fanatics because he is similar, but he has a remarkable essence all his own. Perhaps I would consider him above Tarkovsky, if only Erice would create more films. But, as this movie has delicately taught me, an artist gotta work at his own pace. 9/10.


Caution: Some spoiler content.This movie feels like a documentary--no highs and no lows-but is executed like a fiction. At the end of the film, for example, the director somewhat blurred the line between documentary (reality) and fiction. The tone of the film is very flat and very monochromatic but I like the method it captures the constructive process and struggle of the artist. The artist's philosophy of doing painting is very technical and rigidly methodical. The dialogue is mundane, uncoached, and real to true life but I think this movies works because the formal compactness and control of the topics matter.The artist is committed to capture the reality of the quince tree under the sun although the weather is not everytime at his side. His way of painting is somewhat "different" from another painters, as pointed out by one visitor (the Chinese lady) where she says him that many painters paint their objects from photo. To this, the artist replies that he feels closer to the tree when done that way, that is by drawing the tree from the true source.As time goes by, the artist is realising no method can he captures the "truth" about the quince tree in the method he wants it to be. In fact, we are shown some of difficulties faced by the artist. For example, we are being shown the windy day thus distorting the stable and rigid position of the leaves. The final blow comes when he sees in one morning the dead quince on the ground. The artist gives up in his point at the end and to my surprise, he allow himself to become the object of art. This time with him laying on the bed and the movie shows the almost complete painting, which is presumably done by his wife. In one scene, the painting and his current lying on the bed is somewhat close to every another in reality that there is a sense that there's no difference between reality and the created objects. The artist falls asleep when his wife is making some final touch on the painting or (is he dead?). Realising this, the wife leaves him. I got the impression that the artist has given up his work and his life, too.This movie is particularly nice at portraying the artist at work without pushing the ups and the downs of the artistic process. There are several memorable scenes; for example, when his old mate visits him and they sing together while the old mate is trying to hold the leave stable and the artist draws it. One stage is good, too, where the Chinese lady and the interpreter discuss with the artist about his work. All these scenes--in fact almost all the scenes-are done with no ups and downs of human life found in narrative-driven films.Because of the style of Erice's presentation of the topics matter, this movie is launch to many interpretations. I think Erice seems to recommend that we love to capture everything into what we call art but we can never capture the "truth" of the stuff. The movie also suggests filmmaking is also working under the same principal with painting and hence, is defeated in the same manner. To illustrate, it shows movie camera, with no operator but replacing the artist's standing point, "capturing" the quince tree at night with the supports of artificial lighting. This is very interesting. We are being shown the artists in the artistic process. Then, we are shown (although somewhat suggestively) the filmmakers in related process. It's like telling making movies and making a drawing is voyeuristic in nature.Two things happen simultaneously although the movie focuses more on the artist. Erice is very restrained and reserved about making clear about the two happenings that they almost go unnoticed (although I think this is justifiable.) The result is not something that calls for itself. Neither it is self-conscious. It is very low-key. It is like nothing happens during my viewing of the film. I realised something only when I was done with the film. Consider some of these things:The processes: 1. The artist is working on the painting on the quince tree. The movie now shows in quite feature some of the process. 2. At the same time, three workers are renovating the artist's house. The movie shows they are doing it in the passing.The first results: 1. The artist didn't finish the work. 2. The three workers managed to finish their works. The second results: 1. When the artist decides to stop drawing the quince tree, he plucks the quinces and keeps three of them in his studio, together with the two unfinished items (a drawing and a painting of the quince tree) 2. After the workers are complete with the work, one of them plucks the quince and together they eat the quince.What are these "facts" about if they have meaning at all in the film? What the heck is Erice trying to suggest? Is Erice telling that artist's work is everytime unfinished or to be finished. Or is Erice telling the artists and the non-artists have various concepts what the objects are supposed to mean in true world? Or whatever he means, is Erice telling we cannot take it very seriously because he just wants to present that the method it is?I think Erice wants to create a distinction between seeing and looking at. Two differences between seeing and looking away. (1) Seeing (e.g. artists, philosophers, etc): seeing the globe in order to know what it is out there and seeing things as they are in reality. Seeing is like penetrating to extract the truth about the objects seen. By contrast, (2) Looking away (e.g. ordinary people): Looking away from the globe and things no matter how pretty and however true or real they are, if any various at all. The quince, for example, can be self-useful to folks like the workers and the artist's wife because the quince can be used for many purposes like eating, making into jam, etc. I think the artist belongs to the former while the workers the latter.This movie recalls a natural comparison to Rivette's La Belle Nouseise, other storyline about the artist's struggle to finish his artistic work. Both rely on a very low-key presentation. Both shows in feature the artistic process. In Rivette's film, the artist is struggling to capture "the essence" of the human body. Erice's movie shows the artist trying to include the truth about natural objects. The ending is somewhat different, though. The artist in Rivette's movie decides not to present the complete work to anyone and this is almost anti-climatic (in a nice sense, of course) because all the materials mission to his desire to finish his once-abandoned masterpiece. In Erice's world, the artist does not finish his work and we know that the artist feels somewhat "upset" about this. Other disturbing thing about El Sol del Membrillo is that his wife and his kids know in the passing that the artist does not finish the painting and the drawing but Erice is not concerned to present any dramatic revelation about this thing as though there's no large deal about it. El Sol del Membrillo is one of 1990s' most underrated films. Highly recommended.



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