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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).
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