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Film / Cria Cuervos

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Cria Cuervos is a 1976 film from Spain directed by Carlos Saura.

Ana is an eight-year-old girl. In the opening scene, her father dies of a heart attack in the middle of sex—although Ana doesn't know that's the reason why. This leaves Ana and her sisters Irene and Mayte orphaned, as their mother, Maria (Geraldine Chaplin, daughter of Charlie, mother of Oona) died not that long ago, of cancer.

Her mother's sister Paulina arrives to take charge of the children. What neither Paulina nor anyone else knows is that Ana thinks she murdered her father. Ana spooned baking soda into her father's milk, believing it to be poison; when her father promptly died Ana assumed she was responsible. Ana, who takes a quick dislike to Paulina, decides to kill again.


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Tropes:

  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: Adult Ana looks straight at the camera while delivering her exposition dump.
  • Career Versus Man: The Info Dump reveals that Maria gave up a career as a pianist to get married, and that she regrets it.
  • Complete-the-Quote Title: It's from a Spanish proverb, "Cría cuervos y te sacarán los ojos"—"Raise ravens and they'll take out your eyes." The idea being that doing a bad job of child-rearing will come back to haunt you.
  • Creepy Child: Ana tries to kill two people. The fact that she failed twice because she doesn't know that baking soda isn't poisonous doesn't make her less creepy.
  • The Disease That Shall Not Be Named: No one ever says the C word even as Maria is writhing and moaning on the bed from what is clearly cancer. Oddly, her husband refuses to believe she's even sick, even after a doctor has been by to visit and has given Maria painkillers.
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  • Identical Grandson: Adult Ana is played by Geraldine Chaplin, the same actress who plays Ana's mother Maria. Possibly justified if one assumes that the appearances of adult Ana are figments of young Ana's imagination.
  • Info Dump: Adult Ana gives a long talk filling in some details about her parents' relationship.
  • The Ken Burns Effect: Panning over and zooming in to a montage of family photos over the opening credits.
  • Medium Awareness: The Spanish pop song that features prominently on the soundtrack is playing quite loudly. Ana looks straight into the camera and says "Could you turn that music down?" Afterwards the music does in fact quiet down quite a bit.
  • The Nothing After Death: Discussed Trope. Maria, writing with pain from cancer on the bed, tells Ana that they've been lied to, and "there is nothing" after death.
  • Out with a Bang: Ana's father Anselmo dies of a heart attack while having sex with another woman. Ana gets the mistaken idea that she just poisoned him with baking soda.
  • The Speechless: Ana's grandmother, who might be senile or might have had a stroke, but in any event, she never talks. She seems to understand what's said to her, though, as she nods or shakes her head as appropriate.
  • Untranslated Title: Originally released as Raise Ravens in some Anglophone markets but now known by the Spanish title exclusively.
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