Two detectives are sent to a backwoods town to investigate the murder of two teenage girls. But they’ll have to learn to trust each other if they ever hope to ensnare the savage killer.

1980. Juan and Pedro are detectives in Madrid’s homicide division and ideological opposites. As punishment after getting written up, they are sent to a remote and forgotten town in the marshes of the Guadalquivir river to investigate the disappearance and brutal murder of two teenage girls during the town festivities. But they’re going to have to overcome their differences if they want to discover and confront a savage killer who’s spent years murdering in this community rooted in a past when women didn’t matter to anyone.

Director's Statement

The Genesis
Marshland began some years ago, in a photographic exhibition I attended with Alex Catalán, director of photography and a good friend. Atín Aya, the photographer from Seville, had devoted himself to capturing the last vestiges of a style of life that existed in the marshlands of the Guadalquivir river for centuries. Many of the photographs were portraits of the locals and showed a mixture of resignation, mistrust and hardness which were part of those faces frozen in the past and that, with the mechanization of the labour, most likely wouldn’t have much of a future. The exhibition was a reflection of the end of an era, an epoch. That was my first contact with La Isla, the sunset for a landscape fit for a Western of the end of the century.
For some months during 2009, Rafael Cobos and I toyed with the possibility of writing a “noir” story, having as inspiration Bolaño’s novel "2666" and films such as Vajda’s THE BAIT, or others like: MYSTERY OF MURDERS, CHINATOWN, BAD DAY AT BLACK ROCK, etc. As a source of inspiration, we also had everything the marshlands evoked in us and a magic and mysterious place where wealth and power lived shoulder to shoulder with the pain and misery of characters resulting from a social and political past. With all that information we began to write a story. We decided to set it in 1980, a year of great political tension in Spain, a tension which had to be perceived in the background, as one perceives the gnawing of teeth.

The shoot
The marshlands always appeared to us to be an immense, tough territory; magnetic but truly inhospitable and cruel. And that’s exactly what it was.
It was a difficult movie to make; very physical for each and every one of the members of the crew. The rice crop forced us to start filming early. The weather showed all its extremes with maximum temperatures of 42ºC in late summer and lows of -2ºC. towards the end of November. Every step we took, because of the vastness of the territory involved, became a logistical nightmare.

The cast
I think what I am most proud of is to have managed to keep all actors protected from the “harshness” of the shoot, just one of the enormous difficulties which we faced daily.
I am really satisfied with the work done by Raúl and Javier: the effort, the intensity during rehearsals, and their concentration and creativity in playing their roles. I think the result of the acting is fantastic. I have mentioned Raúl and Javier but the rest of the etc.

Cast & Crew

Directed by: Alberto Rodríguez

Written by: Rafael Cobos, Alberto Rodríguez

Produced by: Mercedes Gomero, Gervasio Iglesias, José Antonio Félez, Mikel Lejarza

Cinematography: Alex Catalán

Editing: José Manuel García Moyano

Production Design: José Domínguez Del Olmo

Costume Design: Fernando García

Original Score: Julio De La Rosa

Sound Design: Daniel De Zayas

Cast: Raúl Arévalo (Pedro), Javier Gutiérrez (Juan), Antonio De La Torre (Rodrigo), Nerea Barros (Rocío), Manolo Solo (journalist), Jesús Castro (Quini), Salva Reina (Jésus)

Nominations and Awards

  • People's Choice Award 2015
  • Feature Film Selection 2015