Finding Altamira (2016): Antonio Banderas Film Directed by Hugh Hudson

Hugh Hudson’s first fiction film since I Dreamed of Africa in 2000, Finding Altamira (aka Altamira) is an historical biopic starring Antonio Banderas.

The film tells the true story of nine-year old Maria and her father Marcelino who, in 1879, found the first pre-historic cave paintings at the now world famous Altamira cave.

Heartbroken when her glorious discovery brings disgrace on her father, the little girl and her parents must fight prejudice and spite to restore the family honor and reveal the truth.

A Spanish-French co-production, the film was shot in many of the locations where the real events took place, around Santillana del Mar in Cantabria.

Amidst the green hills, snow-capped peaks and dramatic coastline of Northern Spain, nine year old Maria Sautuola (Allegra Allen), and her father, Marcelino (Antonio Banderas), an amateur archaeologist, discover something truly extraordinary that will change the history of mankind: the first cave art – breathtakingly fresh and accomplished paintings of galloping bison.

But Maria’s mother, the lovely and devout Conchita (Golshifteh Farahani), is not the only one disturbed at the idea that prehistoric “savages” could have created such magnificent art. The Catholic Church sees the claim of ten thousand year old art as an attack on Biblical truth and, shockingly, the scientific community, led by prehistorian Cartailhac (Clément Sibony), condemn Marcelino and his discovery as fakes.

Maria’s fairytale world grows dark and her attempts to help only make things worse. The family is thrown into crisis and the cave locked up. It takes all their love for each other to find a way through to redemption and recognition.


Directed by Hugh Hudson
Produced by Lucrecia Botin, Álvaro Longoria, Andy Paterson
Screenplay by José Luis López-Linares and Olivia Hetreed
Music by Mark Knopfler, Evelyn Glennie
Cinematography: José Luis Alcaine
Edited by: Pia Di Ciaula
Distributed by Samuel Goldwyn Films
Release date: April 2016
Running time: 97 minutes