The Education of Fairies

Director: Jose Luis Cuerda

Featuring a stellar international cast including French actress Irene Jacob (Red and The Double Life of Veronique) and Argentine actor Ricardo Darin (Son of the Bride and Nine Queens), this lovely and eccentric Spanish film was nominated for three Goya Awards and earned one for Best Original Song. After the film begins, we jump backwards in time to meet our now contentedly settled characters including toy manufacturer Nicolas who falls in love with two people at once on a Barcelona-bound flight after he meets the beautiful widow and ornithologist Ingrid (Jacob) and her inquisitive son Raul (Victor Valdivia). Possibly setting up the idea of magic in the film, luckily the two become equally and rather quickly attached to the creative man and they form a happy family, living in a wooded Spanish paradise filled with the imaginary fairies that Nicolas uses in his bedtime stories that he tells Raul. However, when Ingrid suddenly announces—with virtually no warning—that she wants to leave their picture perfect marriage, reality threatens their blissful life when Nicolas forms a bond with Sezar (Spanish singer Bebe in her film debut), an Algerian young woman whom he ends up rescuing after she’s attacked twice in one evening by her piggish boss and two thugs. Giving her shelter in the wooded area near his home, a now maturing Raul becomes entranced by the stranger, believing her to be one of the fairies in Nicolas’s stories. Based on the bestselling French novel and adapted for the screen by the director Jose Luis Cuerda, The Education of Fairies sneaks up on viewers in a way similar to the Italian film Life is Beautiful in providing the audience with a bittersweet mixture of hard, painful truths including cultural prejudice and the many stages of grief and loss alongside the fantastical tales of wonder told to keep one’s children unaware of the darker side of humanity for as long as we are possibly able.