Errementari – aka Errementari: The Blacksmith and the Devil – is a 2017 Spanish/French [Basque] fantasy horror feature film directed by Paul Urkijo Alijo (shorts: Monsters Do Not Exist; Playing with the Death) from a screenplay co-written with Asier Guerricaechevarría. It was produced by Álex de la Iglesia (The Bar; The Last Circus; Witching & Bitching) and stars Kandido Uranga, Eneko Sagardoy and Uma Bracaglia.
Based on a Basque folk tale, ‘Patxi herrementaria’, collected by priest, archaeologist and anthropologist José Migel de Barandiarán in 1903, the story is set in the Basque region in 1845, in a universe inhabited by mythological diabolic creatures, battling to capture the souls of the unwitting. The title Errementari translates as “Blacksmith”.
The Devil wants a solitary blacksmith’s soul. Meanwhile, the blacksmith wants to escape his prison. A young girl offers a solution, if both the blacksmith and Devil will allow her to help…
“It’s a Gothic horror demonic tale, with adventure and black humour. I intend to plunge the spectator into Basque folk fantastic imagery that I love so much.” Urkijo told Variety.
“With a stunning aesthetic, an ensemble of remarkable actors and a lovely central relationship, Errementari: The Blacksmith and the Devil can garner nothing less than a perfect score. And although the film is a sometimes humorous childhood fable (based on a tale told to Urkijo Alijo as a child) – it is exceedingly dark in many moments.” Michael Klug, Horrorfreak News
” …a lovely score, plenty of fiery scenes shot in a way that make you feel the heat emanating off the screen, a punchline to pretty much every set up, and some imagery in the last few scenes that blend technical wizardry with a nice economical approach to capably raise the material to the level of the outright mythological.” Kevin Matthews, For It Is Man’s Number
“There is a lot of plot – and a great many characters, including the household of a priest who keeps kindly informing Usue that her dead-by-suicide mother is in Hell, get involved. It’s riotously cynical about causes and beliefs, with politics and religion entwined to give the innocent a hard time and the hypocritical an easy ride – even Sartael turns out to be a minor imp bossed around by bigger, more repulsive devils.” The Kim Newman Web Site
“In a series of energetically managed and often very funny reversals, Alijo keeps confounding our grip on good and evil, as notions of heroism and villainy prove very slippery – and, in the dangerous environment of the smithy, any false step can lead to injury or death. With fantastic set designs and beautifully sombre lighting, The Blacksmith and the Devil transforms nineteenth-century northern Spain into a space all at once mythic and medieval.” Anton Bitel, Projected Figures
“The movie manages to engage with the audience due to its peculiar nature of keeping a demon locked in a cage, getting poked at by those he is trying to capture. Sartael wants Patxi’s soul so he can compel him to hell for eternity. I didn’t know whether to be amused by the story because, despite the visionary filmmaking, the demon itself looked incongruous to the darker themes of the movie.” Daniel Hart, Ready Steady Cut!
“While Errementari does have its moments, this Spanish film is neither scary nor particularly fantasy-based. The colour palette is suitably moody, with a lot of dark greys and browns mixed with pockets of other colours throughout its runtime giving a really dark feel. At times the film almost runs afoul of becoming a parody, such is the way the film clings so closely to the fairy tale structure whilst presenting a versification of the demon that borderlines on over-acting.” Greg Wheeler, The Review Geek
El Pobal and Ebide, Bizkaia, Spain
Vitoria-Gasteiz, Álava, País Vasco, Spain
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