(1996, Sp, 101 min) Dir Alex Camino. Cast José Molina, Francisco Vivo, Ángela Merlo.
Young Pablo is moving out into the country with his sickly mother, back the village where she grew up. Her family, especially her aunt, are a superstitious lot who close the curtains when it gets dark “to stop the eyes looking in”. It’s the summer and having no friends he takes to exploring the countryside, especially the nearby forests and hills. When he’s up overlooking the village he finds the remains of an old stone building. “It looks old, doesn’t it?” The voice startles him – it’s another young boy crouched unseen beside the building. “It’s not that old actually,” he says, “It only burned down twenty years ago.” Pablo asks how the boy knows this. “It was my school,” replies the boy, “And I was in it when it burned.” Pablo keeps his friendship with the boy a secret and find out what he is so afraid of – in the night something big wanders through the woods, thrashing aside the trees and calling out for the boy like the nightmare of a stern father. There is an eerie scene when they are all alone having escaped whatever it is that’s trying to find them. They look up and open their eyes at long last they find themselves surrounded by eyes looking at them from the darkness of the surrounding trees. “There he is!” cries a chorus of young boy’s voices. These are the fifty eyes of the title, the eyes of his dead classmates. A fantastic fairy tale of a film that delves into the darkness of Spain’s recent past through the eyes of its children.