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The Little Apartment (1959)

El pisito (original title)
Rodolfo and Petrita each live in separate quarters in dilapidated Madrid, while looking to have a little apartment (or "pisito", in Spanish dialect). Unfortunately their low salaries ... See full summary »


, (as Isidoro M. Ferri)


(screenplay), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
2 wins. See more awards »
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Complete credited cast:
Petrita (as Mari Carrillo)
Concha López Silva ...
Doña Martina Rodríguez
Ángel Álvarez ...
María Luisa Ponte ...
Hermana de Petrita (as Mª Luisa Ponte)
Andrea Moro ...
Mari Cruz
Gregorio Saugar ...
Don Manuel
Celia Conde ...
José Cordero 'El Bombonero' ...
Dimas - el callista (as José Cordero)


Rodolfo and Petrita each live in separate quarters in dilapidated Madrid, while looking to have a little apartment (or "pisito", in Spanish dialect). Unfortunately their low salaries prevent them from acquiring one. Soon, Rodolfo's co-workers urge him to marry the old and frail Doña Martina, who is the main tenant in the apartment he boards in. According to Spanish rent-control law, he could inherit the lease from his spouse. Thus begin his misgivings and Petrita's. Written by Emilio

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Comedy | Drama





Release Date:

26 November 1993 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Little Apartment  »

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Edited into Apaga y vámonos: Episode #1.3 (2013) See more »

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User Reviews

Classical Spanish movie in which Marco Ferreri gives a grotesque portrait of the Madrid lower classes living in crowded housing
8 November 2016 | by (Santander Spain) – See all my reviews

The picture is well based on real events , as the real and dramatic situation happened in the forties and the fifties , the increasing demand for housing in Madrid , motivated by the exodus to the capital of the inhabitants of rural areas in search for better conditions for living . The extreme poverty of the post-Civil War (1936-1939) forced several families to live crowded into small apartments for rent , dreaming of being able at the future to access their own homes in the dilapidated Madrid . It deals with the humble Rodolfo (Jose Luis López Vázquez) and Petrita (Mary Carrillo) are a couple of eternal boyfriends , they have no home of their own and each living in separate quarters and rented accommodation in buildings that should be left . But in the 50s in Spain was not as easy to access to a decent housing and the couple found themselves in dire straits to fulfill their dream , living in the process the most comical situations . While they are looking to have a little apartment (or "pisito", in Spanish dialect) to get better their life style . Unfortunately their low salaries and misgivings prevent them from acquiring one . Their hope is to inherit the rented apartment where he lives and whose legal tenant is the good heart mistress "Doña Martina" (Concha López Silva) , a sick old lady early to die . Soonafter , Rodolfo's co-workers urge him to marry the old and frail Doña Martina , who is the main tenant in the apartment he boards in . According to Spanish rent-control law , he could inherit the lease from his wife . Then , the elderly woman finally accepts and she puts the only condition to take care of her belongings and the other tenants . But Doña Martina , animated by her new matrimonial state , lasts to die.

Splendid movie that mingles black comedy , drama , urban conventionality , Francoist social habits , criticism and ¨Esperpento¨ . This is a piece of absurdity and nonsense , full of comical situations , family tragedy and strange happenings such as : some children throwing a wheel-chair man , a little boy on a potty while people eating , a cripple young running , among others . Filmed in long shots showing the crude reality by that time , its black tone causes to not be censored by the stiff censorship ; however , other films dealing with the housing shortage , such as : ¨Historias De Madrid¨ (1956) by Ramón Comas , ¨El Inquilino¨(58) by Jose Antonio Nieves Conde and ¨La Vida Alrededor¨ (1959) by Fernando Fernán Gómez were really censored . This is not the typical comedy by that time , here there is a brief social denounce about the repression , shortages , housing problems , dealing with family ambition and egoism . This picture surprises us for the boldness of the social criticism on the situation of the housing and poorness of the the 50s . The origin of this peculiar film "El Pisito" is in the original novel written by Rafael Azcona , this one integrated into a literary trilogy , being completed by "El Cochecito" also adapted by Marco Ferreri and "Los Muertos No Se Tocan , Nene". Here writer Azcona and filmmaker Ferreri give satirical observations of social conventions and the 50's Spanish way of life . ¨El Pisito¨ was badly premiered , it lasted long time to exhibit itself and had awful critics , as Ferreri was really criticized for his stridently bleak view of human nature . José Luis López Vázquez is the central character that moves the whole action , capable of bringing his role a humanity that goes beyond his grotesque portrait , giving a masterful acting , as usual . As most of López's career was synchronous with Francisco Franco's 36-year repressive regime, when it was almost impossible for Spain to create a vibrant film industry and for talented film-makers to express themselves freely, the majority of his films were conveyor-belt comedies and melodramas, strictly for home consumption . Of the remainder of roles there stands out Mary Carrillo as the harpy , ambitious girlfriend who is busily looking for an apartment , at whatever cost . Support cast give sensational interpretation such as Concha López Silva as the understanding old woman , José Cordero as the sympathetic surgeon , Ángel Álvarez as his job colleague , María Luisa Ponte as Petrita's sister with several children and numerous uncredited cameos from a young Chus Lampreave , Almodovar's ordinary .

This classy Spanish movie was compellingly directed by Marco Ferreri . In the 1950s and 60s, despite restrictions, a distinctive Spanish art cinema managed to emerge, led primarily by the directors Juan Antonio Bardem, Luis García Berlanga , Carlos Saura and Ferreri. Marco was born in 1928 , Milan, Lombardy, Italy and died in Paris , 1997 . Marco firstly was a salesman and then , briefly, a journalist. First foray into film work was filming commercials, and as promoter of a cinema magazine . Worked in Spain from 1957 as Ferreri comes to work in the Spanish/Italian co-production titled ¨Toro Bravo¨ (1956) by Vittorio Cottafavi and he meets writer and graphical humorist Rafael Azcona , and he then debuts as filmmaker in ¨El Pisito¨, following ¨Los Chicos¨ and ¨El Cochecito¨ all of them co-written by Azcona . Many of his films are sour comedies achieving successes thanks to his trademark caustic humor and sharp dialogue and he usually gives ironical remarks about middle-class sexual mores . He was at times criticised for his fatalism and black view point . He was a successful writer and director , especially known for ¨The harem¨ (1967) , ¨Dillinger is dead¨ (1969) , ¨Le Grande Bouffe¨ (1973) , "Don't Touch the White Woman!" (1974) ,¨The last woman¨(1976) , and "Tales of Ordinary Madness" (1981) , among others .

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