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Luis García Berlanga
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Isidoro M. Ferry
José Luis López Vázquez,
Concha López Silva
In a small spanish town, a group of old ladies decide to celebrate Christmas Eve with a "Sit a poor man at your table" dinner: each wealthy household of the town will have a homeless person dining with them that night. The celebrations also include a parade, and in it we find Plácido, the humble owner of a three-wheeler, whose family is forced to live in a public lavatory because of the lack of money to pay the rent, and who has to pay the second bill of his vehicle before midnight or else he will lose it. Written by
The desperation of Spain seen through the looking-glass of black comedy.
As is almost always the case with the films of Berlanga, this film is a comedy on the surface, which hides a very hard and crude criticism of the situation of Spanish society during the dictatorship. In those years, Spanish filmmakers couldn't speak freely and openly about the dismal state of their country, so they had to pass their message to the audience between the lines. Berlanga was a master at doing this, and Plácido is one of his finest examples. The abysmal differences that existed between the very poor (the majority of the population at the time) and the very rich, who treated the rest with utter contempt and ridiculous condescency, is portrayed with such strength that it can't leave anyone indifferent. But it is done in the form of a comedy, and a very funny one, full of absurd situations and memorable dialogues, but also a very black one, with some scenes, especially near the end of the movie, which are on the edge of the truly macabre. A true masterpiece from one of the greatest Spanish directors.
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