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A man, Onofre Bouvila, arrives in Barcelona searching job in 1888, the city is ready to organize the Universal Exposition; but the working class is unemployed and they are very poor. A girl convinces Onofre to spread the anarchist ideals between the working class, but the police repression makes it impossible. The only way to have money is the delinquency. "La ciutat dels prodigis" is based on the great novel by Eduardo Mendoza. The film is very well made and the setting is perfect; Mario Camus has made a great portrait of Barcelona in 1888.
A young man, who was abandoned by a father that went to Cuba to make
his fortune, decides to go to Barcelona, a city where the famous World
Fair of 1888 is going to take place. Onofre, who has lived in poverty
and wants to escape his lot, is immediately attracted to Delfina, a
young woman who is an anarchist. Delfina, who couldn't care less about
riches, has decided to enlist Onofre in the cause she champions.
Onofre, is torn between the passion he feels for the beautiful woman and what he came to the big city for. He gets caught in the web of intrigue that surrounds his new activities. Barcelona was overrun by the criminal gangs that were trying to take advantage of the climate of the time. After a violent confrontation with the police Onofre decides to put his priorities in order.
Mario Camus, a director we had admired before, tries to make sense of the Eduardo Mendoza novel, no doubt. Since we are not familiar with the book, it's hard to compare the action in the film with what Mr. Mendoza was trying to tell in his novel.
There are some good moments in the film, but like other Spanish directors, Mr. Camus, heaps a lot of Spanish politics into the background. Unfortunately, the film is not easily grasped for persons that have no background in this story.
The film looks like a crossing between a twisted love-story and a classic gangster-movie; everything happening in turn-of-the-last-century Barcelona. Greed, power, treason, violence, love... It reminds me of "Miller's crossing" (Coen Brothers' film) All in all, a good film showing a changing world.
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