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Cotolay

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Aka: El Niño y el lobo (Mexico)
Director: José Antonio Nieves Conde
Year: 1966
Country: Spain
Runtime: 106 minutes
Genre: Biography


My Rating:
IMDb
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Review:

The plot is loosely based on the legend from Galicia in north-west Spain of the founding by St Francis of Assisi (1182-1226) of the Convent of San Francisco near Santiago de Compostela in 1214 with the help of a poor charcoal burner named Cotolay, who found a buried treasure which paid for the construction. This slow moving but engaging film opens with St Francis arriving in Santiago with two other monks - Juan of Florence and Bernardo de Quintavalle - during a pilgrimage there to visit the tomb of St James the Apostle in the cathedral. He receives a divine revelation to tarry there until the meaning of his vision becomes clear. Faint with hunger he meets Cotolay (the 14-year-old Didier Haudepin) who gives the monks (stolen) figs to eat and leads them to the nearby Mount Pedroso where logging-master Tarna gives them food and lodging in return for work during their stay. While praying on the mountain St Francis believes he has been divinely instructed that his order of mendicant friars should found convents, starting at Santiago. Because St Francis is struck down with fever and blindness, Cotolay promises him that he will build it for him. Believing his grandfather's tales of buried treasure at a ruined abbey Cotolay vainly goes in search of it, until St Francis tells him that real treasure lies in one's self, in faith, humility and obedience; with these qualities one can build a whole world, not just a convent. With charm, piety, zeal and kindness Cotolay sets about his task, persuading the abbot of St Martin's Benedictine Monastery to grant a parcel of his land as large as a bull's skin in return for a basketful of fish. The abbot agrees but Cotolay cuts the skin into thin strips and marks out a far larger plot of land than expected in the Val de Dios (Valley of God). Next Cotolay gets the cathedral master mason Mateo to donate a pile of stones and has the loggers transport them to the chosen site in a competition of strength. After Mateo has constructed the convent St Francis is taken to the new building where his sight is restored. The film ends with St Francis taking his leave of a tearful Cotolay, who wants him to stay. (It should be noted that the version of the film with English subtitles is usually known as Cotolay, rather than by the original Spanish title of El Nino y El Lobo - The Boy and the Wolf.) The wolf of the Spanish title plays only a very minor part in the story and is eventually tamed by St Francis. - IMDb

Children's Cast:

Didier Haudepin [15] Cotolaya 'Cotolay'


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