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Balarrasa, a totally forgotten movie in its own country, Spain, shares lot
of details with some epic movies from the 50's and 60's from Hollywood (I
recall Ben Hur, Quo Vadis and Barabbas).
Balarrasa is the nickname of a militar guy who's living in the wild side. Suddenly he experiments in the war field an extraordinary experience and he decides to give his live to God. He becomes a priest.
Coming back to his hometown, he finds his family totally broken and living as he used to, that means in the edge of the blade. He starts a kind of crusade to save them.
A hidden pearl in Spain movie history... Look at your hands...
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
"Balarrasa" is a technically well-made film that nevertheless is a
clever piece of Franco's military-religious propaganda. The
glorification of the rebel army in the Civil War stinks, and the smell
of moth-eaten cassocks in claustrophobic and damp-freezing monasteries
is suffocating. Fernando Fernan-Gomez's character is pathetic in his
hypocrite self-righteousness, and his siblings are a bunch of spoilt
good-for-nothing bourgeois brats who deserve a jolly good thrashing.
The only mildly interesting character is the villain, who looks like a
parody of an American gangster. Nieves Conde was a far-right winger, so
it is easy to see why he made this piece of sanctimonious vulgarity.
Fortunately, he soon would make "Surcos" and a few years later "El
Inquilino", two excellent social criticisms on corrupt post-war Spain
and the everyday miseries of the working class.
A very forgettable film, unless you are a Bible-basher or a Fascist or both.
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