Paquita and her brother Venancio, both single and childish, live in a small town near Madrid. Their bossy eldest sister Ignacia, also an old maid, dominates them. One night, Paquita hears ... See full summary »
Fernando Fernán Gómez
"Carne de fieras" was filmed right before the Spanish Civil War broke out, hence the film was never released and it is now available to be watched just because the Filmoteca de Zaragoza took care of assembling it in 1992. Made in the summer of 1936 in Madrid, this movie takes good advantage of outdoor locations such as the Buen Retiro Park. The film provides the viewer with popular variety shows (as much as did other films at the time such as El Misterio de la Puerta del Sol), so we get to see folk dances, tango, boxing, circus, giggles comedy club... All in a row.
The title "Carne de fieras" could be roughly translated as "Wild Animals' Meat" and it echoes back to Hollywood's fixation on wild animals (from the Keystone comedies back in the 10's to 1938's Bringing Up Baby just to name some of them) which became very popular and appreciated in Europe too as portrayed in Eduardo Garcia Maroto's (aka Eddie White Tie) "Una de fieras", a hilarious parody on this sort of film featuring some wild creature.
Coming straight down to the plot, the movie examines the life of a regular man who rescues a young boy from drowning, catches his wife with another man and then falls in love with a circus star who reminds very much of Marlene Dietrich (her name is Marlene too, she's got a picture of the diva stuck on her dressing room's walls and is even referred to as Blonde Venus!). So the movie deals with as delicate issues as unfaithfulness, divorce and adoption in terms the Hays Code would've never allowed. Plus, the leading actress shows up completely naked twice (although covered by a micro thong). Another factor worth to be mentioned is that the leading actress and her companion speak nothing but french throughout the entire movie.
Up to this point do the innovations lead, the rest can't seem to simply work out well. Performances are at times poor and you can tell the actress is just a good-looking circus star who's never been in front of a camera for one thing. The kid, although tries his best to be funny turns out really unnatural. Curiously enough, the best performance in my view is given by Lucas, the mad servant, played by director Armand Guerra. The end proves quickly arranged to please audiences with a pathetic happy ending. Besides, there's at least one scene missing (when the kid is rescued) which dislodges the movie from its sensation of continuity; this becomes aggravated by synch failures or jump cuts at the various performances (which in the end make up minor mistakes after all). The story is simply silly and proves once again that Spanish Cinema during the Spanish Second Republic was just plain stupid and either so much freedom or free-thinking couldn't prevent the industry from collapsing. The movie is entertaining but it won't contribute to your personal development by any means.
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