A fencing master in pre-revolution Spain is hired to teach fencing to teach fencing to a beautiful young woman. Although he has never taught a woman before he is fascinated by her and ... See full summary »
A fencing master in pre-revolution Spain is hired to teach fencing to teach fencing to a beautiful young woman. Although he has never taught a woman before he is fascinated by her and agrees. She wishes to learn a particular thrust which he is famous for. When a local nobleman becomes involved with her the intrigue begins. Written by
Daniel Bruce <email@example.com>
One novel by Pérez-Reverte transferred to the cinema which he will not be ashamed of
Pérez-Reverte's second novel and the first that I read; I was immediately attracted to the author's ability to set his scene in a historical moment in time, which he has done in other books, most notably the `Capitán Alatriste' series, as well as his easy-flowing narrative style which carries the reader on into the plot. And as his story develops, so do the characters: there is depth and feeling, such that it seems that real personalities spring up out of his pages.
It was with some scepticism that I sat down to watch `El Maestro de Esgrima' as previous viewings of film versions of Pérez-Reverte's novels left me with a very bad taste: `Territorio Comanche'(qv) and `La Tabla de Flandes'(mysteriously called `Uncovered' (qv) by those responsible for making the horrendous disaster) were very poor efforts for the cinema. However, from the very first moments, it was obvious that a lot more care had been taken in making `El Maestro de Esgrima'.
Pedro Olea (`Más Allá del Jardín' (qv) based on a book by Antonio Gala) had something decent in mind when he embarked on this film. He was fortunate in choosing Omero Antonutti as the fencing master. From the book one would have expected someone somewhat thinner and perhaps even a little older: however, Antonutti, who I can remember in one of the best two or three Spanish films of all time `El Sur' (1982)(qv) made an excellent contribution, together with Assumpta Serna as Adela de Otero. At times I suspect that the chemistry could have been a little better, but on the whole these two principal actors keep everything on course. Serna was certainly quite a good choice, but again, from having read the book, I might have thought of someone just a few years younger. She is always good to watch, and hardly anywhere better than precisely in `El Maestro de Esgrima'. Another interesting point is that no doubles were used in the tepeé dual at the end of the film; it only lasts a few minutes, but it is very well done. Antonutti and Serna both had to take fencing classes, and the result is well worth the effort.
José Nieto one of the best film-music composers in Spain for many years tones in well with the proceedings and the Madrid of the 1830s.
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