Posts Tagged ‘Allegra Allen’

AltamiraBison“FINDING ALTAMIRA” My rating: C+

97 minutes | No MPAA rating

The conflict between science and superstition (not to mention stubbornness and stupidity) is nothing new.

In Hugh Hudson’s “Finding Altamira” a 19th-century archaeologist sees his life and reputation reduced to tatters over his discovery of spectacular prehistoric cave paintings.

Marcelo Sanz de Sautolo (portrayed here by Antonio Banderas) was a wealthy Spaniard and gentleman of leisure.  He was also an amateur scientist who loved getting his hands dirty digging up old things.

In 1879 Sautolo was excavating a cave discovered a few years earlier.  His nine-year-old daughter Maria (Allegra Allen) wandered off from the entrance and stumbled upon a magnificent chamber decorated with drawings of animals — mostly massive bison — rendered in red ochre and black ash.

Sautolo  concluded that this was the work of prehistoric man — but work of undreamed-of sophistication. As it turned out, that was the sticking point. No one — not even Europe’s most acclaimed archaeologists — believed primitive man capable of such efforts.

Sautolo was accused of forging the cave paintings to satisfy his own need for celebrity. Twenty years later he was vindicated posthumously after other such sites were discovered around southern Europe.

The screenplay by Olivia Hetreed and Jose Luis Lopez-Linages employs these historic facts as the backbone for a tale that takes on religion, professional pride and father-child relations.


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