La caja 507

The most recent films of Enrique Urbizu illustrate an interesting thematic trend: both La caja 507 and No habrá paz para los malvados depict Spain and its people as victims at the center of vast conspiracies involving international capital.

In La caja 507, Modesto Pardo lives in an unnamed town in Andalusia. His sixteen year-old daughter dies in a fire while camping with her boyfriend on the coast. Seven years later, Pardo discovers that the fire was not accidental. He sets out to unravel the mystery of his daughter’s death and stumbles on a conspiracy to develop the Spanish coastline and thus deprive the Spanish people of their natural patrimony. When Pardo returns to the site of his daughter’s death, he sees a lush, green golf course surrounded by Beach homes that contrasts markedly with the pristine and natural coastline where his daughter had been camping.

In La caja 507, global capital is linked with corruption, and the government and police are complicit in selling Spain and its natural resources to foreign investors to the detriment of the Spanish people. Forest fires are common in Andalusia in the summer, but the overdevelopment of the tourist industry (especially the growth of golf courses in the arid climate) has exacerbated droughts in the region in recent years. They only get worse the more tourist development strains the already low water supply.

Though not explicitly discussed, the motif of water rights has a huge impact on the film. Lack of water justifies the ocurrence of the fire (though it was actually started by arson). Lack of water is exacerbated by the growth of commercial tourist developments in Andalusia. Lack of water means Pardo can only shower after seven AM and that drinkable water must be rationed–two images that very explicitly illustrate the difficulty of being a Spaniard in a Spain overtaken by tourists and foreign capital. Lack of water symbolizes that Spanish resources no longer belong to the Spanish people, but rather to the highest bidder.

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