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Obviously, the sarcastic statement made by Vazquez Montalban twenty
years ago is by no means true, but when comparing recent Spanish film
productions to some of the oppositional masterpieces shot during the
50's and 60's one feels tempted to believe it.
El Pisito is a caustic criticism on the hardness of lower classes everyday reality in the fifties francoist society. It rawly portrays the infrahuman conditions in which people were forced to live (whole families inhabiting a single room of a crowded apartment) and the perverse struggle getting by in such conditions was, but, instead of imitating the Italian neorealist melodramatic mood to search the compassion and solidarity of the spectator, the material is presented from satirical perspective based on the Spanish theatrical style of "esperpento" (plays that mocks national traditions through the employment of emphasized grotesque features). This way, the choral protagonist of the film (there's a predominance of long cuts framing groups of people, sometimes carrying out simultaneous actions)is shown closer to an animal than a human being in a chaotic urban jungle where everything is permitted, causing distancing in the audience.
For this task, all the actors are just great, creating great doses of black humour; but, avobe all, Jose Luis Lopez Vazquez proves to be one of the best actors in Spanish cinema, brilliantly performing that henpecked boyfriend always conducted by someone else's will like a poor puppet.
In sum, this movie is a must see for anyone interested in Spanish cinema and culture (mandatory for fans of Alex de la Iglesia's oubvre) and lovers of intelligent and bitting humour.
In 1959 "El Pisito" arrived to Spanish Cinema to join what was a
prodigious decade strong film critic and corrosive content in
reflecting the society of the time. It was with authors such as Luis
García Berlanga, Jose Maria Forqué or Juan Antonio Bardem, but there
was still another author that was decisive for the development of
Spanish cinema, screenwriter Rafael Azcona.
The origin of "El Pisito" is in the original novel writer himself, in turn integrated into a literary trilogy is completed with "El Cochecito" (just below also adapted by Marco Ferreri) and "Los Muertos No Se Tocan, Nene" "(this last part has just been made into a film by José Luis García Sánchez, who worked with Azcona on titles like "Belle Epoque "," Suspiros de España (y Portugal) "or" ("Siempre hay un Camino a la Derecha ") .
In "El Pisito" Azcona was based on a real and dramatically situation, increasing demand for housing in Madrid during the 50s, motivated by the exodus to the capital of the inhabitants of rural areas in search of better conditions for living. The extreme poverty of the post-Civil War forced many families crowded into small apartments for rent, dreaming of being able to access their own homes.
The protagonists of the story are "Rodolfo" (José Luis López Vázquez) and "Petrita" (Mari Carrillo), a couple of eternal boyfriends have not been able to marry precisely because they have no home of their own. Their hope is to inherit the rented apartment where he lives "Rudolph" to sublet tenant whose legal tenant is "Doña Martina" (Concha López Silva), a sick old lady who puts the only condition to take care of her belongings and the other tenants "Meri" (Celia Conde), a woman of light life and good heart, and "Dimas" (José Cordero "El Bombonero"), a " Chiropodist " which has his consultation on the apartment and has an extraordinary resemblance to a great friend. "Rodolfo" marries "Doña Martina" who animated by her new state, refuses to die.
Despite the dramatic backdrop of history and the miseries that reflected, Azcona wore a grotesque tone, achieving with his trademark caustic humor and sharp dialogue, soften the harshness of its images.
Along with the extraordinary script and staging of Ferreri, the film is based on its cast of actors, capable of bringing their characters a humanity that goes beyond making Azcona grotesque portrait of each of them.
The adaptation of the novel was written by Azcona and the film's director, Marco Ferreri, who brought a legacy staging of Italian Neorealism. So with interior scenes, where the theatrical manners acquired greater prominence, found many scenes shot in streets and other places of Madrid, with the city in ruins.
Ferreri employed numerous extras and supporting actors non-professionals, who bring the film a documentary character and increases the likelihood of the main characters (we can see his own cameo as the owner of the apartment). At the same time, Ferreri showing incipient development of this society that began to raise its head from the 60s through the buildings under construction in the centre of Madrid but still inaccessible to humble workers as "Rodolfo" or the remarkable prosperity of the company where the protagonist works, for the greater benefit of the employer, "Don Manuel" (Gregorio Saugar).
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
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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