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Film / The Nest

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The Nest (El Nido) is a 1980 film from Spain, directed by Jaime de Armiñán.

Alejandro is a 60-year-old widower, a man of means who is living in comfortable but dull retirement in a ranch house in the country. One day he's out riding his horse in the forest, because that's the kind of thing he does to kill time, when a bird's egg hits him square on the head.

The bird's egg winds up drawing his attention to a piece of paper on a tree, with the feather of a bird, directing him to find the next sign with the feather of a different bird. The pinned signs eventually lead him to the local high school, where the drama club is putting on a performance of Macbeth. The girl playing Lady Macbeth, one Goyita (Ana Torrent) is the person who left the signs.

The 13-year-old Goyita, wise beyond her years, starts spending a lot of time with the man old enough to be her grandfather. At first it's mostly innocent, as the two go bird-watching and play leapfrog. However, while they never actually consummate their relationship, it steadily grows more intense and emotional. Goyita, who's clearly the one in charge, starts making greater and greater demands of Alejandro, tests of his love. Eventually she asks him to kill someone. That someone happens to be a police sergeant.



  • Bird-Poop Gag: A bird egg, but it basically works the same. Alejandro is in the forest, lost in a reverie, grandly conducting an imaginary orchestra, when his reverie is suddenly interrupted by an egg striking him in the head. It was actually thrown by Goyita.
  • Blood Oath: Goyita demands that she and Alejandro pledge their love for each other with a Blood Oath. She carves an A for Alejandro on her palm, he carves a G for Goyita
  • Call-Back: There's a call-back to the Blood Oath in the last scene, when Goyita, standing on Alejandro's grave, cuts another "A" in her other hand to stand for "amor".
  • Downer Ending: Alejandro is killed in the shootout with the police sergeant, having loaded his rifle with blanks prior to their duel. The last scene is Goyita visiting his grave and swearing to never give herself to a man.
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  • Drowning My Sorrows: Alejandro has to have a few drinks after Goyita demands that he kill the sergeant.
  • Henpecked Husband: Goyita's father spends their family dinners sitting in silence, face pointed downward at his food, while Goyita's mother screams at and berates their daughter. He's also dominated by his boss, the sergeant (both the sergeant and Goyita's father, members of the Civil Guard, live in apartments above the police station), who thinks nothing of barging into their apartment and also yelling at Goyita. Finally Goyita's mom browbeats him into physical discipline. Goyita's father takes her into a bedroom, orders her to lie down, takes his belt off... and whacks the mattress with the belt, leaving Goyita unharmed.
  • The Jailbait Wait: Goyita says that when she grows up she'll take care of Alejandro.
  • Let the Past Burn: Goyita demands that Alejandro demonstrate his love for her by destroying all of his late wife's possessions. He hesitates, but when she says she won't see him anymore if he doesn't do it, he gives in. Alejandro gathers up all his wife's stuff and burns it in the courtyard of his home.
  • May–December Romance: More like a February-December romance, as a 60-year-old man falls into some deeply inappropriate love with a 13-year-old girl. Alejandro knows all the people in town are gossiping about him but he doesn't care.
  • School Play: Macbeth, of all things. The symbolism of Goyita playing Lady Macbeth, as she eggs Alejandro on to some very unwise decisions, is obvious. (The kid playing Macbeth is terrible, and in one of the few bits of comic relief in the film, the drama teacher has to stop him from rattling his lines off three times too fast.)
  • Smart People Play Chess: If pretending to conduct Haydn concertos wasn't enough to mark Alejandro off as an intellectual, he also plays computer chess at home. While signaling that he's an intellectual, this also signals that he's lonely.
  • Suicide by Cop: After the Jerkass sergeant sets Goyita's pet hawk free, she demands that Alejandro kill him. Alejandro challenges the sergeant to a duel. Eventually Alejandro meets the sergeant in a mountain pass, firing at him with a rifle before one of the sergeant's men shoots Alejandro to death. They discover that Alejandro's rifle was loaded with blanks.
  • Tomboy: Goyita's controlling bitch of a mother calls her this specifically, citing Goyita's habit of climbing trees.
  • Trail of Bread Crumbs: Goyita leaves a series of messages in the forest, leading Alejandro from spot to spot until he's eventually led to her school.