When the single middle-aged Luis travels from Barcelona to bury the remains of his mother in the vault of his family in Segovia, he is lodged by his aunt Pilar in her old house where he ... See full summary »
Paulino and Carmela are husband and wife, troubadours touring the countryside during the Spanish Civil War. They are Republicans, and with their mute assistant, Gustavete, they journey into... See full summary »
A group of flamenco dancers are rehearsing a very spanish version of the Prosper Merimee's drama. Antonio (the coreographer) falls in love with Carmen (the main dancer). Their story then ... See full summary »
Laura del Sol,
Paco de Lucía
Toledo in the 30s: The godfather of cinematic surrealism, Luis Buñuel, the poet Federico Garcia Loca and the painter Salvador Dalí are on a search for the mythical table of King Salomon, ... See full summary »
El Gran Wyoming,
A French psychologist investigates about famous suicidal women. She finds the case of Antonieta Rivas Mercado, a Mexican writer who died inside Paris' Notre Dame in 1931. To follow the ... See full summary »
Ignacio López Tarso
A young girl, after failing an exam, is forced by her father, a taxi-driver, to learn his profession. Soon she discovers that her father is not only a driver but also a member of a racist ... See full summary »
Ángel is an aging professor, a lonely widower without purpose. His lovely, spirited neighbor, Terese, interrupts his suicide attempt when she comes to borrow wine. She invites him for ... See full summary »
Fernando Fernán Gómez,
Laura del Sol,
When the single middle-aged Luis travels from Barcelona to bury the remains of his mother in the vault of his family in Segovia, he is lodged by his aunt Pilar in her old house where he spent his summer of 1936 with her. He meets his cousin Angelica, who was his first love, living on the first floor with her husband and daughter, and he recalls his childhood in times of the Spanish Civil War entwined with the present. Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
For this year, I have decided to concentrate on movies favourably appraised by the two guides I grew up with Leslie Halliwell's and Leonard Maltin's or were otherwise mentioned in a couple of polls ranking the top films of all time. With this in mind, of about a score of Saura titles in my possession and which I had opted to schedule for viewing on the occasion of his birthday, the number has been reduced to just 5 and these are not necessarily among his more renowned or even intriguing efforts!
The film under review falls, to my mind, in the latter category despite its having won the Jury Prize at Cannes. Having now watched it for myself, there is no doubt that COUSIN ANGELICA is indeed worthy of merit; however, I must also admit that it was rather heavy-going an experience for a number of reasons. First off, it seems to me that certain native film-makers are obsessed with the Spanish Civil War since it regularly features in their work (as here), and yet the conflict eventually comes to have no real bearing on the central plot! In the same vein, there is a distinct whiff of anti-clericalism (including nightmarish visions of a worm-infested and stigmata-bearing nun) running through it but, again, no specific point is being made by this stance!
Incidentally, I wonder why such an ordinary title (which also misleadingly equates it with a contemporaneous sub-genre in Italian cinema!) was chosen for a film that is essentially so rich in subtext relating to the impossible love affair at the heart of the narrative between the single protagonist and his unhappily married cousin especially since several actors play multiple roles throughout while the hero remains the same, i.e. middle-aged, the entire time (even when supposed to be a child and, at one point, gets to see himself as he is imagining a meeting with his own long-dead parents)! Curiously enough, the end titles reveal that the film was dedicated to Charles and Oona Chaplin, the parents of Saura's then-companion (and frequent collaborator) Geraldine who, however, does not appear in this one...and I do wonder what the British comic made of the whole thing!
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