All the Moons is a Basque film written by Jon Sagala and directed by Igor Lagarreta and produced and distributed by Filmax (also known as Let the Right One In and Errementari). According to Filmax, “the film is set in North of Spain, at the end of the 19th century. During the final throes of the last Carlist war, a little girl is rescued from an orphanage by a mysterious woman who lives deep inside the forest. Badly wounded and close to death, the girl believes the woman to be an angel who has come to take her to Heaven. Soon, however, she will discover that what this strange being has actually given her is the gift of eternal life . . . by turning her into a vampire.
Left with no choice but to accept her new condition, she will have to learn to live in the profound and painful loneliness of time, trapped inside her little girl’s body. An infinity of moons go by before, one day, she meets Cándido, a humble man who takes her in and treats her as if she were his own daughter. Now the little girl will be set on a new path, one that will see her rebel against her animalistic nature and revive in her the hope of getting back the life that was stolen from her.”
Everything about this movie does it for me. We all know I love anything with vampires, but I especially love to see something that puts a bit of a twist on the classic vampire fare. While the ideas and themes presented in this film are not wholly new ideas and themes in the vampire genre, I can easily say that I have never seen a vampire film quite like this one before. Some parallels can be drawn to Let the Right One In, but they only go skin deep with both main protagonists being young vampires. The two girls truly could not be more different apart from their age.
What really stands out to me about Amaia is her lack of knowledge about what’s been done to her and her desperation to get back what was taken. No, she didn’t want to die, but she didn’t realize what all she’d be giving up just to stay alive, and now the very thing that saved her life now keeps her separate from the rest of the world. This struggle does get better when she meets Cándido. They’re both struggling with similar traumas and not doing a very good job at it. Neither has anyone left in this world and that grief and loneliness is what brings them together. They both fill an essential role to the other and form a beautifully symbiotic relationship; they each bring the other back to life.
The cinematography for the film is gorgeous and easily sets the mood for the dark fairytale that you’re watching unfold. It’s not often that you get a vampire movie with this much sunlight, and it does a lot to add to the fairytale imagery. The woods and valleys look absolutely luscious and give an eerie other-worldliness to the film. The landscape shots are breathtaking, and the close-up shots on the actors allow their brilliant performances to shine through the screen.
Speaking of brilliant performances, so much credit is due to the young newcomer, Haizea Carneros. She absolutely carries the entire movie. A good chunk of the film is just her alone in the woods with barely any lines. The power with which she conveys the myriad of complicated emotions the character is experiencing in that time is unbelievable to watch. Like Amaia, she shows wisdom and understanding beyond her young age. With the skill she possesses this young, I can’t wait to see what she does with future projects.
If you like dark fairytales, movies that deal with grief, depression, isolation and loneliness, or vampire films with a twist, this movie is for you. Even if you don’t think you like all of those things, I say still give All the Moons a chance. It’s one of the best genre films I’ve seen in a while, and now one of my favorite vampire movies. I can’t wait to revisit this film and see what else I can take from it.
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