Where Woody Allen should have been inspired for "The Purple Rose of Cairo"
Being known as the gross, commercial and unscrupulous director who made such Spanish blockbusters like "Los Bingueros", it is a big surprise to watch this singular early film from the usually under-rated Mariano Ozores.
The film is a reflection on time: which things keep on chanching forever and which ones seem to stand still. The interesting thing about this is the way of carrying this task: The films starts with a person watching slides which portray Spain in the past. Then, all of the sudden, like in Woody Allen´s "Purple Rose of Cairo", a character in one of the slides - the great Antonio Ozores - comes to life. He steps out of the slide and starts talking to the perplexed man. What comes next is a long walk through various parts of Spain with Antonio Ozores explaining how things were in the past. This is illustrated by vintage footage that the experienced editor Pedro del Rey (a man who worked with Buñuel, Saura and Ferreri) blends beautifully with present-time images with an all-star Spanish cast rarely seen together on any film made during that period. Curious film, wouldn´t you say?
Don´t expect me to criticise the rest of Ozores´ work. I think most of his films are really funny and are perfect in the sense that they fully achieve their goals. But I feel it is important to know that this director had his ambitions and a knowledge of film techniques that, in a way, appear in his later, always underrated movies.
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