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April, 1940. Manolo, 16 years old, and Jesus, who is just 8, are taken by their older brother Pepe, a lieutenant in the Army, to a sanatorium for children suffering from tuberculosis, situated on the border with Portugal. Once in the sanatorium, Manolo, surrounded by boys all much younger than he is, feels a bit like the cock of the walk since the only other man around is the handyman Emilio who looks after the gardens and does whatever needs to be done about the place. His wife, Rafaela, is the cook. Manolo meets Irene, a falangist who runs the sanatorium, and the school teacher, Miss Transito, a crabby spinster. He has his first sexual experience, albeit as a voyeur, with his nurse Vicenta. When she has to leave, her place is taken by a girl from the village, Maria Jesus, with whom Manolo falls hopelessly in love. A relationship grows up between them which will mark them both for ever. Written by
Enjoyable and light coming-of-age comedy set in post Civil Spanish War
This is a lovely and lively story about coming of age after the Spanish Civil War . It is set in a rural location , April 1940 , soon after finishing Spanish Civil War (1936-1939) . The young boy and main character, well portrayed by Jorge Sanz (still one of Spain's most promising young actors), goes to a sanatorium or Preventorio Infantil , and discovers the opposite sex on the way . This picaresque tale of sexual awakening is told with great flair by its director , Fernando Trueba, who also co-wrote the screen play with Rafael Azcona . Manolo (Jorge Sanz) , 16 years old, and Jesus, who is just 8, are taken by their older brother Pepe (Santiago Ramos), a lieutenant in the Army, to a sanatorium for children suffering from tuberculosis, situated on the frontier with Portugal. Once in the sanatorium, Manolo, is surrounded by boys all much younger than he is , there he undergoes several sexual adventures and roguish situations . There meets the handyman named Emilio (Manuel Alexandre in a likable acting as an old man who knows French poets) who looks after the gardens and does whatever needs to be done about the place , the chief nurse named Irene (Veronica Forque , daughter of director Jose Maria Forque), who runs the sanatorium and the cook (Rafaela Aparicio) . Manolo also meets a beautiful nurse named Vicenta (Violeta Cela) and the school teacher , Miss Transito (Chus Lampreave, Pedro Almodovar's usual) , a craggy spinster . When she has to leave , her employment is taken by a girl from the village , Maria Jesus (a very young Maribel Verdu), with whom Manolo falls hopelessly in love ad has his first sexual experience . A marvelous relationship grows up among them which will mark them both for ever .
Comedy with historical and romantic elements ; including enjoyable performances and adequate set design . ¨Año De Luces¨¨ or "Year of Enlightment" results to be other of the innumerable stories to deal with deeds regarding the post-Civil War background . A familiar theme about the global horrors of a fratricide war , impossible to forget to our cinema . An agreeable coming-of-age story plenty of amusing moments , moving feelings and fun finale . It is a light, wistful romantic comedy , easy to watch, and easier to love. It is set in post- Spain Civil War and is as beautifully filmed as it is written and acted . This is one of those rare gems that does not stray from its purpose - to be a celebration of love and romance and comic tale of a young boy controlled by his libido . Director Fernando Trueba , also writes the interesting script along with prestigious screenwriter Rafael Azcona , Luis Garcia Berlanga's usual . Filmed in his usual formal and luxurious style , without leaving a trace the joyful themes , in terms of dramatic and narrative excitement . Very good secondary cast formed by Spanish familiar faces such as Verónica Forqué as Irene , Manuel Alexandre as Emilio , Rafaela Aparicio as Rafaela , Santiago Ramos as Pepe , Chus Lampreave as Doña Tránsito , José Sazatornil as Don Teódulo , Violeta Cela as Vicenta and Diana Peñalver as Paquita . Colorful and evocative cinematography by Juan Amoros . The picture is entertaining and well worth your time . The film is light and never somber, no small accomplishment from Fernando Trueba and his team.
This simple, delightful motion picture was well directed by Fernando Trueba . His first success was Ópera Prima (1980) following the style of the "Madrid comedy". He had major success with Sé Infiel y No mires Quién (1985) also known as : Be Wanton and Tread No Shame , starting a longer collaboration with the producer Andrés Vicente Gómez . He went on directing numerous successes such as Coarse salt , Too Much , Milagro de Candeal , Niña De Tus Ojos or The Girl of Your Dreams , Calle 54 , Embrujo De Shanghai , Chico and Rita and recently : The Artist and the Model. Trueba was President of the Spanish Academy of Motion Picture Arts and he received the 1994 Oscar for Best Foreign Film to Belle Epoque (1992) in similar style to "Year of Enlightment" .
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