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Luis García Berlanga
Another masterpiece by the notorious filmmaker Berlanga who shows the lively existence at a village where appears an escaped scientist
Maestro Berlanga realizes another acceptable film full of good feeling and brief social critical . Spanish coral film with enjoyable screenplay by Leonado Martin and the same Berlanga dealing with a scientist whose inventions he thought to be good for humanity , but he then escapes from a hypocrite society that builds atomic dangers and nuclear weapons . Spanish/Italian co-production masterfully directed by veteran Berlanga who satirizes daily life of the post Spanish war and full of a high level of ingenious humor , including a light critical but without malevolent intention . The professor Hamilton (Edmund Gwenn) is a famous scientific , a wise naive old man that makes atomic artifacts , but tired his inventions to be used for military objectives , flees to realize his mistake . He escapes and shelter a Spanish little town called Calabuch , a idyllic place located on Mediterranean coast , a location where the whole world does what he likes . It is inhabited by diverse people : the priest (Felix Fernandez) , the smuggler (Franco Fabrizi) , the teacher (Valentina Cortese) , the Corporal (Juan Calvo) of Guardia Civil , the lighthouse man (Jose Isbert) , these are the most wonderful of the world . They have nature of naivety and help the scientific who befriends neighbours , all of them are very good people . Hid in these people he can live and die in peace ; Utopian Calabuch has an air of surrealism magic.
This is a fable/metaphor story that contains busy comedy , humor , frantic pace , blatant anti-militarism , joy , amusing gags , rowdy satire , noisy hustle ; but the main problem is that if you are foreigner you will have to know well the Spanish society to understand the double-senses and jokes . The main and support actors stand out under perfect direction of Berlanga very far from sour criticism that carried out in previous and subsequent works such as ¨Placido or El Verdugo¨ that include bitter , pessimistic descriptions of social classes . In ¨Calabuch¨ we can find very fun characters, all of them caricatures of the "spanish way of life" and a mirror on the Spanish society by that time . Awesome playing by Edmund Gwenn as a naive , ingenuous wise scientist . The movie displays a Spanish secondary star-studded such as : Juan Calvo , Manuel Alexandre (Berlanga's habitual) , the great Jose Isbert and the likable Jose Luis Ozores , Maria Vico , Mario Berriatua , Nicolas Perichot , as well as Italian players as Franco Fabrizi and Valentina Corteres who married Richard Basehart who starred ¨El Jueves Milagro¨.
Direction by Luis Garcia Berlanga is pretty good , he shows his skill for edition , realizing long shots with crowd who moves easily . Acceptable cinematography by Francisco Prosper , though is necessary a perfect remastering ; being filmed on location in Peñiscola (Castellon) , where years later was filmed ¨El Cid¨ by Anthony Mann . Lively and emotive musical score by Guido Guerrini and Angelo Francisco Lavagnino , though uncredited . Berlanga filmed several polemic movies during the 50s , all of them were beset by difficulties with the censors caused by real critical to social stratum such as ¨Bienvenido Mister Marshall¨ (1953) , a very good film which tended not to be very well received by the censor for its acidity and considered to be one of the best Spanish films of the history ; however, his strong portrait of Spanish society , plenty of sharpness , didn't please the pro-Franco authorities . His next joint venture was ¨Los Jueves, Milagro¨ (1957), it was modified by the censors and delayed for several years before its eventual release . Subsequently , Berlanga made ¨Placido¨ (1961) masterfully played by Cassen , this is the film debut for the great producer Alfredo Matas and received an Oscar nomination in 1963 , being well-received at the International Festivals , reviewing the useless charity , it's a sublime film but with censorship realized by this great maestro Luis Garcia Berlanga . Later on , Berlanga made one of his best films: ¨El Verdugo¨ (1963), one of the undisputed masterpieces and fundamental in filmography of Luis Garcia Berlanga where shows the miseries of an amoral society and shot at the height of his creativity, in a period cultural difficult, where the enormous censorship of the political regime, exacerbated the ingenuity and imagination of the scriptwriters . He continued filming other interesting pictures as in 1973 he went to Paris to begin filming ¨Grandeur nature¨ with Michael Piccoli , another problematic film , focusing this time on the fetishism of a man who falls in love with a doll . Several years later , after Franco's death, he filmed a trilogy comprising ¨La Escopeta Nacional¨ (1978), ¨Patrimonio Nacional¨ (1981) and ¨Nacional III¨ (1982), where he clarified the evident disorders in the Spanish upper , middle-class upon being confronted with a new political status quo , realizing a sour denounce of the Spanish society . Berlanga ulteriorly shot a peculiar film titled ¨La Vaquilla¨ (1985) plenty of Spanish-star-cast and set in the Spanish Civil War , resulting to be the first time dealing with this convulsive period in comedy style . Following the same themes, he went on filming coral films such as ¨Moros and Cristianos¨ and ¨Todos a Carcel¨ (1993) that won three Goya Awards for Best Film, Best Director and Best Sound ; being his final film : ¨Paris Tombuctu¨. Rating ¨Calabuch¨ : 7'5 , pretty good . Essential and indispensable watching for Berlanga aficionados . Better than average and well worth seeing .
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