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Review: Grieving the Loss of Childhood—Carla Simón's "Summer 1993"

“Why aren’t you crying?” a boy asks 6-year-old Frida as St. Joan fireworks—a Catalan summer solstice festivity—crackle in the background. Frida however doesn’t answer—instead she stoically gazes at the blazing night sky. That’s how Carla Simón’s incredibly poignant personal feature debut begins. Based on Simón’s own experiences with the loss of her parents at a very young age, Summer 1993 centers on Frida, a sly, precocious orphan compellingly played by the gifted young Laia Artigas. We quickly learn Frida’s parents died of AIDS and that she is taken in by her aunt and uncle, played by emerging talent Bruna Cusí and the mustached Catalan heartthrob David Verdaguer, popularly known for 10.000 km. They take Frida to the countryside for the summer with the hopes of returning some semblance of normalcy to her life. There, we find out the reason Frida is not crying

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