Ana y Yo (Ana and I)| 1hr : 22mins
Director: Primavera Ruiz | Producer: Out of the Box Features
Focus Years: 2013 | Country: United States
When Odile, the youngest child of a large Spanish family, dies following an accident, the siblingsâ€™ single mother decided to handle the events in a way that made it impossible for the other children to deal with their sudden loss. ANA AND I director Primavera Ruiz examines her mother, Anaâ€™s immediate choice to adopt another child of the same age as Odile, and give the adoptive daughter the same name as the deceased baby girl. With Odile born to a family in Equatorial Guinea, why did Ana then adopt Odileâ€™s biological sister, Margarita, almost a decade later?
ANA AND I tells the story of a daughterâ€™s search for the real person behind the faÃ§ade of the mother she thought she knew. The film examines how the decisions Ana made impacted the lives of her family members, especially Primavera and her two closest sisters, Odile, and Margarita.
Initially, the documentary focused on a trip the two somewhat estranged adopted sisters wanted to take with Primavera to Equatorial Guinea, the country of their birth for the first time in over 20 years. There, Odile and Marga are reunited with their biological family. After their adoptions, Odile and Marga had rarely seen eye-to-eye on any topic, but Prima used the trip as an opportunity to teach her adopted sisters more about each other in an attempt to reconcile them.
However, looking into the backgrounds of her sisters led Primavera to one shocking truth after another with each shattering the illusion Primavera grew up under. The tragic death of Primaveraâ€™s biological sister Odile was really an accident caused by her brother, and not the natural occurrence originally told to her.
Her father, Antonio, was so physically abusive towards Primavera and the other children, that the kids had to hide and pretend they were playing a game where they needed to avoid a monster at all costs. In reality, Antonio was the monster they despised, and unbeknownst to Prima, he was as physically and emotionally abusive towards Ana as the children. Unaware her parents were separated at the time of Antonioâ€™s death, all Primavera remembers is not feeling at all upon hearing the news that he died. Still a child at the time, she immediately went back to playing with the others. Little did she know that Ana also lied about the circumstances of Antonioâ€™s demise.
The children were isolated from the pain and suffering of their family by Ana, who packed up the clan and moved them to the countryside. The reason for the move was the financial crisis in Spain, Ana an entrepreneur at the time went into receivership and as a result fled to the country with the children but only after changing her name and undergoing some plastic surgery. It was here that they trained for years as an equestrian vaulting team, eventually representing the nation of Spain in the 2002 world championships. While training, the family was isolated from others, and lived Anaâ€™s utopian dream.
Once the family retired from vaulting, Primavera had the sensation she had grown up inside a bubble, a feeling that lingers to this day.
Beneath the surface of the smiles Ana demanded of her children while performing on horseback lie a host of buried emotions, confrontations and questions that would remain buried until Primavera picked up her video camera at the age of 25 and started filming her family.