All the Moons
all the moons | igor legarreta | jon sagala | haizea carneros | itziar ituno | josean bengoetxea | vampire | vampries | drama | fantasy | period piece | spain | france | curse | monster | creature | elena uriz | miriam del prado | justi larrinaga | jose maria munoz lopez
Film: All the Moons (Ilargi Guztiak)
Director: Igor Legarreta
Writers: Igor Legarreta and Jon Sagalá
Starring: Haizea Carneros, Itziar Ituño and Josean Bengoetxea
This is one that I didn’t know about until I saw a list from my buddy on social media, Tim, for his favorite horror movies released in 2022. Since I respect his opinion, I wanted to give this a watch. It was a week that nothing was showing at my local theaters that were released this year so I needed a new release for Journey with a Cinephile: A Horror Movie Podcast. This is one that I saw trivia about, confirmed its release and figured it worked.
Synopsis: in late 19th century, a little girl hurt by a bomb at the end of the third Carlist war is saved by a woman who brings her eternal life.
We start with a quote: first there was darkness. Then came light and fear. It then shifts us to a religious convent. There are orphans of the war that is currently waging. With what the synopsis said, this is happening in the 1800s and the war that is waging is the Third Carlist War. I’m not up on Spanish history, but with a quick search this is one of the many civil wars that have been fought there. Getting back to what the movie is showing, the nuns want the children to pray for safety instead of fleeing. The convent is then destroyed by a shell.
As this was happening, we focus on Amaia (Haizea Carneros). She wasn’t praying like the others. She was draw to a painting of an angel leading a child. The shell hit and the building collapsed. She wakes to see a woman before her, Itziar Ituño. She helps the little girl and takes her away from the rubble. Back where she stays, this woman asks the little girl if she wants to be healed. Amaia agrees.
This girl then wakes up. She is completely healed and doesn’t understand how that is possible. The woman is there and comforts her without giving answers. This woman lives in a community with others who aren’t happy about her helping this child. We see that this group might not be human. I’m going to dance around what they are as to not spoil, but what I will say is that they cannot go into the sunlight and it appears they live off blood.
Amaia’s world changes again when this group is attacked by soldiers. They know that this group is different. Amaia and the woman flee into the light with blankets on. The little girl is separated and falls from a cliff. The woman believes her to be dead since her blanket snagged on a rock. This isn’t the case though. Amaia wakes in the snow and seeks shelter. She finds it in a cave. Before she was separated from the woman, she promised the girl to see all the moons. Amaia to pass her time feeds on animals and draws what the moon looks like each night. We also get interesting scenes as she spends a long time here and may build an immunity to the sun.
Once she is strong enough, she heads out looking for the woman she now sees as her mother. This leads her to a cabin that belongs to Candido (Josean Bengoetxea). She gets caught in a trap he set out for wolves. She is wild and he tries to tame her. We see that she craves to be close to someone though. Despite them butting heads, she settles in. He knows tragedy from losing his wife and daughter. There is a new chance here for happiness with Amaia. The local town even embraces her. That is until they realize the truth about this little girl.
That is where I’ll leave my recap and introduction of the characters. Where I want to start is that this is an interesting story we are telling. It is fitting that this is getting its release in here the United States as this would make an intriguing double feature with You Are Not Alone. We have this little girl who I’m guessing was orphaned due to the war that is waging. The nuns at this convent took her in. She questions them when they want to pray instead of fleeing. I like seeing the horrors of war here and how terrified everyone is.
From there we get interesting iconology that comes back a lot. Amaia sees this painting of an angel leading a child. She then wakes up to meet the woman that she will know as Madre. She is led away from the horrors of what happened at the convent by her. Amaia is in pain and when given the offer to be healed, she takes it. The villain here though is Madre by not telling her what the side effects are. This idea of angels and demons come up later as well. Amaia at times thinks she could be a demon. Candido and the local priest also question this. After a reveal, the townspeople think that she is the latter. I like the exploring of this concept of religion in a grounded way. There is also a commentary here on being different. You could almost read this as Amaia being an atheist and the town shuns her. With the soldiers, it could be that this group is a different race than them. Due to that, they are hunted. I like there is subtext that you can pull or just enjoy the events on surface level.
Next, I want to explore the parent/child relationship. There are interesting dynamics here. Madre is lonely despite the group she is with. Amaia is lonely by not having parents. This is a mutually beneficial relationship. It is still toxic from the side of Madre. She then has a different experience with Candido. He knows loss. He is a hard man, but once Amaia softens, we see their love grow. It softens him as well. This love is in a father to daughter way. It gives her the strength to realize what is happening there. I like that they explored this idea as it brought heart to the movie.
The last part of the story I want to go into will also pull the effects. If you’re savvy about movie creatures, you will know what this is from the beginning. I knew from a piece of trivia, but that didn’t ruin my enjoyment. This explores the lore. It also left me confused. We see that Madre and the others like her are hurt by the sun. Amaia builds a tolerance. I’m not sure if it is just her over a long stretch subjecting herself to that pain that eventually she overcomes it. We see though that eating makes her sick, even in the end. I like how these plays in with her being shunned as things go on and considered a monster. The blood that see looks good. We don’t get a lot in the way of effects, but we also don’t need it. What they did looked practical for the most part and I appreciate the effort put in. This was all solid.
Since I’ve went into the effects, I want to go next to the cinematography. This is a beautiful movie. They do a great job at making it feel like it is in the past. From the buildings that they’re using to the outfits. That is all good. There does seem to be a bit of CGI that was used for some of the shots. This is done in an artistic way. One of them is underwater and it make me think of Dario Argento’s Inferno. I wanted to give credit for what they did here as this movie is shot amazing.
Then the last thing would be the acting. I thought that despite her age, Carneros does a great job. We see her as a child in the beginning, then she becomes wild from growing up for a long time alone. I like that she struggles with Candido until they develop a mutual respect. She also has a feeling of being wise beyond her years despite being in a child’s body. This was an excellent performance. I liked Ituño as well. She is good as the more villainous parent even though she doesn’t mean to be. On the converse then, Bengoetxea is good as the parent that teaches her things and they develop a love that is pure. The rest of the cast was good. Special credit to José María Muñoz López who is the priest. There was something about him that I didn’t trust. His portrayal as this local pastor was great.
In conclusion, this explores interesting ideas. I like that we are getting concepts like religion, the family unit and even how we are perceived in the community. This all around the idea of this little girl potentially being a creature. The acting is good. The heart that movie brings from the story developed works. Cinematography was beautiful as it flirts with being an arthouse movie. I’d even say that the effects we get are solid. A big gripe is that his is a slow burn. I tend to like movies like this to let the story develop, but I don’t know if we needed as much as we got. Regardless, I still enjoyed my time here and this is a solid movie overall.
My Rating: 7.5 out of 10