The opening scene is inspired in "The Kiss", a short story by Spanish post-romanticist writer Gustavo Adolfo Bécquer. Toledo, 1808. The city has been occupied by French Napoleonic troops. A firing squad executes a small group of Spanish rebels who cry out "Long live chains!" or "Death to the gabachos!" -a Spanish pejorative term for "Frenchmen"-. The troops are encamped in a Catholic church which they desecrate by drinking, singing, and eating the communion wafers. The captain caresses a statue of Doña Elvira de Castañeda and is knocked unconscious by the statue of her husband, Don Pedro López de Ayala. In revenge, the captain exhumes Doña Elvira's body to find her face has not decomposed; there is a suggestion of intended necrophilia.
Cut to the present day where a nanny is reading the voice-over from a book whilst seated on a park bench. The children in her care are given some pictures by a strange man in the park. There are implications of child abduction or pedophilia. Cut to a close-up of a spider and the interior of a bourgeois apartment where a man is "fed up with symmetry" as he rearranges his mantelpiece. The children arrive home and show the pictures to their parents who are shocked that the girls have such... Read More