Wednesday, 19 May 2010


In this introspective documentary about the judicial system in Spain, five people accused of molesting children are put on trial in Barcelona. The scandal, named the Raval case after the neighbourhood in which it took place, rightfully shook the nation to its core. Xavier Tamarit, a soft-spoken schoolteacher who stands accused of prostituting several children under his care, appears disturbingly unaffected by the charges launched against him, explaining himself without emotion. Director Joaquim Jordà compiles news reports, interviews and even performance art related to the case to illustrate the impact of the case on the media.

By subject matter, this sits alongside Capturing The Friedmans and Paradise Lost, but in opposition to these films, About Children presents the facts without breaking the fourth wall, as if not wishing to sensationalise the case any further. In some ways however, Jordà’s work trivialises aspects of the case – the film is as much about the Spanish judiciary as it is about paedophilia, and while the theatre pieces and acoustic soundtrack may help to form filmic interludes, they are discordant with the serious nature of the trial and appear insensitive. This is not to say that the film doesn’t take its subject seriously. The cameraman seem to be everywhere in the courtroom, absorbing natural reactions from attorneys and jury members, as well as profiling the accused without interfering with procedure. Shocking, challenging and thought-provoking, About Children is a hard-hitting analysis of an abhorrent crime, an incisive study into the darkest side of human nature.

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