Victor Erice's film is a painstaking documentary of an artist (Lopez) striving to achieve something that each season lies tantalisingly beyond his grasp - the painting of a quince tree in his garden.
Filmed in the autumn of 1990, this acts as an elaborately detailed diary, charting Lopez's progression with the painting throughout October, as his love affair with the beauty of the tree and its ripening sunlit fruit slowly transfers itself onto his canvas. As November looms and sunlight fails, the artist swaps naturalistic brushstrokes for stark pencil etchings as nature takes its course on the tree, while in and out of the frame drifts Lopez's wife Moreno, herself a painter, a group of puzzled Polish workmen, and sundry friends and relatives, including his former art school classmate and fellow canvas-tickler Enrique Gran.
Erice foregoes flash cinematic artistry in this simple portrait of a man's attempt to fulfil a dream, favouring instead motionless single-camera set-ups that show the quince tree through the eyes of the artist, and the artist at work through the eyes of the director. Despite its languid beauty, this is a long film that requires a patience practically equalling that of Lopez to sit through it, and while art students may find the work aspect illuminating, most folk may find their minds wandering to those little jobs that need doing at home - not least giving the shed a lick of paint.