Finding Altamira

Synopsis: Marcelino Sanz de Sautuola y de la Pedrueca, in 1868, accidentally discovered Paleolithic paintings with the help of a hunter named Modesto Cubillas inside Altamira's caves, located in Cantabria, north to Spain. Trying to expose their discovery to the academic world for that they study the paintings, Sautuola crashed against the skepticism and discredit of all experts, who claimed that the caves were false and the paintings made for the own Sautuola, in a effort to get rich. Looking for the truth, Sautuola was the rest of his life fighting to prove that those paintings were real, trying to restore his innocence from the accusations of falsehood launched against him.
Genre: Drama, History
Director(s): Hugh Hudson
Production: Mare Nostrum Productions
Rotten Tomatoes:
97 min


Looters. Speculators.

Grave robbers.

This is how Prehistorians

are perceived.

"The meek shall inherit the Earth."

Not those who arrogantly seek

to explain the miracle of Creation.

But our quest is for

the Origins of Mankind.

Think then of the peril

should your children

be exposed to their heresy.

It is imperative that we raise

the standing of our infant science,

as the great Charles Darwin

has done for Natural History.

Anyone who does not confess

that the world and all things in it...

are created for the glory of God:

let him be anathema,

cast out from the Church.

My name is Maria Sautuola.

When I was nine years old,

my world was torn apart.

Even so,

I don't regret for what we did,

for what we discover.

It all began

when Papa went to Paris

to hear the greatest archaeologists

of the age.

Papa was a scholar and a scientist,

but above all

a fearless seeker of truth.

Don Marcelino, are we looking at

our primitive ancestors?

Only a few steps from the cave.

I was trying to imagine

how I would behave if my house

were on display like a zoo.

We should go.

The lecture will be packed.

We must be rigorous, methodical,

scientific in our work,

or the forces of Reaction

will crush us.

Good speech, Cartailhac.

Allow me to introduce my friend,

Mister Sautuola,

a keen recruit to our field.

Another Jesuit?

No, sir.

A beginner,

an enthusiast without prejudice.

I'm learning so much

from your journal, sir.

It's men like you

we academics rely on.

The honest amateur

is our foot soldier.

Only do not let his dogma infect you.

Please, its for you.

Mama, mama.

Be careful with those, Maria.


Oh, Marcelino, is that a hat?

From Paris?

- Yes... I mean, no.

- Thank you.

Forgive me, Conchita!

It's for my orchid collection and...

I shall wear it to church?

See what my husband has brought

from Paris.

We are joining Cartailhac's army.

Marcelino, you've only just arrived.

Can I come?

I must be old enough by now.

See how tall I am. Let's go.

No one is going hunting

or joining any armies.

- What beautiful they are!

- Maria, time for practice.

Maria Justina!

You practice, then we'll go.



And Father Tomas says

I should be confirmed this Autumn

or it will be too late.

Too late! Why's that?

Because I ask too many questions.

Do I:

It's impossible to ask

too many questions

as long as you pay attention

to the answers.

The primitives

lived over 10.000 years ago.

So by digging down, we look back

a telescope of time.

This must have been a good place.


Did they sleep on the mud?

And these were skilled craftsmen.

They could make what they needed.

What does it say in Genesis?

"Thou art dust and..."

"And to dust thou shalt return."

Even here,

protected from the elements,

only the hardest things

survive the ages:

stone, shells,


Now listen.

That muddy cave!

Prayers, Missy.

Dust to dust, ashes to ashes.


- Oh, she's asleep.

- No wonder. Exhausted.

I'm not asleep. Show me now!


look through this little window.


Papa bought it in Paris.

Moving pictures.


But how?

Twelve mirrors.

As the cylinder turns, the reflections

give the illusion of motion.

Why are there rainbows?

A prism, where the light

is bent by the glass-

It wants to grow that way.


if that's what it wants,

we can move the path.

Why not?

C'mon. Come here.

Yeah, right here.

Throw a line over here.

Over here.

We cannot fight nature, Mero.

To the right, to the right.

What if no one comes?

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Olivia Hetreed

Olivia Hetreed is a British screenwriter and editor, and the current president of the Writers' Guild of Great Britain. In 2003, she received a BAFTA nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay for adapting Tracy Chevalier's best-selling novel Girl with a Pearl Earring into the film of the same name. Hetreed has also been credited as the screenwriter for productions based on the works of Geoffrey Chaucer, Emily Brontë, and Caroline Lawrence. As a result, she has been called an "expert in literary adaptations." more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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