The Golden Legend
A summer day at the swimming pool of the village of Montánchez, Spain. From above, Our Lady of Consolation of the Castle keeps her watchful gaze. —Chema García Ibarra & Ion de Sosa
The Golden Legend is a playful ode to a social institution sometimes taken for granted: the public swimming pool. Chema García Ibarra and Ion de Sosa’s narrative short takes place at the piscina municipal de Montánchez, a setting so achingly commonplace that the filmmakers easily transform it into a fictional, comical and subtly fantastical location. Here we find typical pool scenes: children playing with things they’re not supposed to, pool-goers stuffing their faces at the snack bar and sundry beach towels with gaudy illustrations. This is the scene for multiple legends to be told through anecdote, conversation and song, and it’s against this din of normalcy that we witness a divine miracle take place.
Towards the end of the film, a pale, almost invisible rainbow is shown. It’s a good metaphor for García and de Sosa’s film. For such a short work, The Golden Legend creates an enchantingly alluring atmosphere that is as rich and tasty as a piece of Montánchez jamón. The worst part of any kid’s day at the pool is when it closes. And likewise, the film ends abruptly and prematurely, the manager locking up and rolling away on his four-wheeler. Over crystal blue water, a canary yellow, black metal-style title card flashes on-screen, and it’s everybody out of the pool. We’re left dreaming of another day and another pool, though we’ll have to promise to wait 30 minutes after eating before jumping back in next time. —Herb Shellenberger