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I think. Watching this film I can't help thinking that it is an allegory of the social history of this country. I am not an expert on the subject but it all makes sense.
Although the movie is filled with nostalgic references to the past, which could make it a little autobiographic at points, the general idea here is that a broken man who doesn't know his real condition, a fallen "aristocrat" who doesn't accept his new status, tries to make a living by cheating. The perfect opportunist, he hides the truth about him from his son, his beloved companion in this road movie, but it seems that he believes in his own lies more than his son does.
Patty Hearst is in the news, Franco is dying, color TV appears in the market, American military bases are an opportunity rather than a political issue and living on the others seems the only acceptable way to live for a man who is used to another kind of life. Anything but a job. Women in this story are but vehicles that get him farther on the way. A future high class singer is only a meal ticket really and when she is not available any more a casual green grocery girl from the neighborhood is good enough as long as she provides a worm bed and a financial solution for a man too good for this world.
His son in the meanwhile is a problematic teenager who hates his father's ways, has his sexual wakening and starts to understand what his life is. In every sense he is more noble than his well bred and mannered father, although a troublemaker. He respects women and he is uncomfortable with rackets, but he could actually do better than the small time crook of his father. He is more intelligent, more flexible and his principles are more than a protocol to him. He is I guess, the boy who grew up to take control of his country in our days.
Clear political messages are his love affairs with the American girls and his resistance against the police during a riot he finds himself into by mistake. When the youth stands up in front of the forces of oprecion they do back up, according to this. It did happen in Spain and most of Europe.
In the end, just when things seem to get worse, all gets better, Not because of a personal success but from an unexpected turn of fortune, barely related to the process the two heroes have been through. The dictatorship is over and their poverty as well. Thanks to someone else's money, they can enjoy the life they want.
That's my interpretation of the film anyway. I hope it also was the intention of the makers. :-D
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