‘Dragonflies’: the sordid face of the posh Sierra de Madrid


  • Luc Knowles’ debut feature is a magnificent generational portrait that addresses youth from economic precariousness and lack of opportunities

Álex and Cata are two young people who live in the Sierra de Madrid, but not in luxury chalets, but in a miserable neighborhood in which they find themselves trapped. They have been friends since childhood and dream of escaping this oppressive environment together. Both belong to dysfunctional families in which drugs or alcohol have taken their toll. Álex’s mother committed suicide when she was seven years old and Cata has to take care of her sick father alone. They have no job and no prospects for the future and spend their time smoking joints, talking and hanging out for endless nights that turn into mornings.

‘Dragonflies’ is the debut feature by Luc Knowles, presented at the Malaga Film Festival, and in it he wanted to capture the spirit of a youth weighed down by precariousness and with an uncertain future. “Social networks only show us idealized and beautiful lives, but I have wanted to go to the opposite extreme. I wanted to portray the social strata with fewer possibilities and means, with a more uncertain future & rdquor ;, says the director from the Malaga Festival, where he presents the film in the ZonaZine section.

It’s not ‘Elite’

Indeed, ‘Libélulas’ is at the opposite end of the fashion series starring young people, such as ‘Elite’. In it we find crudeness, a stark naturalism, but also space for visual poetry. “It has something of a generational portrait, of social drama, but for me what predominates is the story of friendship & rdquor ;. She wrote the character of Alex thinking of Olivia Baglivi, but I had to find the right actress for the character of Cata and for both to complement each other. then it came Milena Smith and the pieces fit. “The connection between them was immediate and they managed to fit perfectly into the game that I proposed to them”. Indeed, both give off an unusual freshness and perfectly manage the codes of realism with which the director impregnates the entire film.

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In ‘Dragonflies’ Echoes of the cinema of Andrea Arnold and Sean Baker resonate, especially ‘The Florida Project‘, with that decadent environment in which women have to face a reality that surpasses them, in which death is always present in one way or another, and so are drugs. “Drugs are present throughout our society, in big cities, but also in those towns or small places where they become the only entertainment for young people. I did not want to judge this topic or teach a lesson about anything, simply show how the characters relate to them since they are little and have them so naturalized that it is part of their lives & rdquor ;.

Green against roughness

The film is located between the mountains of Madrid and Segovia. The director wanted to contrast the green that floods everything, an apparently idyllic space, with the harshness of the sad world in which Cata and Álex live. “I wanted it to be a story that could be extrapolated to any outskirts of a big city. And I wanted to use that harsh language, but also beautiful images to make it clear that green sometimes deceives & rdquor ;.


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