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Juanma Bajo Ulloa
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Juanma Bajo Ulloa
Fernando Guillén Cuervo,
Alberto San Juan
Outlandish and ironic film about a salesman who sees appearances of the Virgin and becomes himself a false prophet
This disconcerting and overlong film deals with a traveling as well as drunken salesman called Mariano (Kara Elejalde) , he is driving when loses control and has a car accident on a clandestine camp of marijuana . Meanwhile , a squad of local Guardia Civil commanded by a Sergeant (Manuel Manquiña) sets the illicit plants afire . Then an intoxicated Mariano under the influence of the burning weed fancies that he has had a religious vision and has seen the Virgin Mary and decides to stay there . Along the way appears a religious parade led by a priest , a nun called "Sister Trini" (Gloria Muñoz) and her votaries , attracting the evangelical interest of the group , as they believe there took place a miracle when the Virgin sculpture cries blood when accidentally falls from a dove . Shortly after , the swindler Enrique Torres (Fernando Guillén Cuervo), salutes Mariano as a prophet , combining their forces to build a holy shrine at the seared site of his near immolation , therewith raising great sums of money . Mariano transforms himself into a prophet-like figure who is an instant success in the public . As two Spanish suspected felons soon find themselves in over their heads when they stumble upon an opportunity to get some rich opportunities . As Religion and show business prove to be a winning combination, something that con Enrique Torres capitalizes on .
This is a hilarious hallucinogenic comedy , with plenty of parody , surrealist events , extreme spoof and gross-out but also with some brief moments being bold and fun . The bizarre ironies here are funny , sad and sometimes shocking . This is a comical and sometimes embarrassing account of a series of "sightings" of the Virgin Mary and their aftermath from the personal, social , cultural, religious and economic perspective . The flick is realized in ¨Airbag¨ style , a successful Spanish film by Juanma Bajo Ulloa also written and starred by Fernando Guillen Cuervo and Kara Elejalde , full of quirk roles , amazing events , abundant craziness and strange situations ; but there was also a larger theological question about ¨people manipulation¨ . Spain, which was vulnerable to these types of worshipping , has seen its share of the offbeat , which is what the filmmaker felt is an assault on the viewing public and wanted to set his flick from the point of view of the two roguish and the people that are making a fortune out of the naive audience . The characters are all odd , grotesque and weird and the film races on at incredible speed . Anti-religious humor turns out to be sometimes cheesy and gross-out with numerous naughty and picaresque situations such as ridiculous jokes , bad taste , blasphemy and adult scenes . However , it also contains uneven comedy , piggy humor , profanity and grossed issues . It's possible that Christians or other religious people pick this up because the yarn has the word "Virgin Mary" in it, but that shows what the writers and filmmakers were attempting to do is to teach a possibility to people who maybe never saw the world like this, especially in the modern world where Christianity has been more and more accepted and sometimes forgotten . The picture deals with religious appearances and fake prophets , a theme usual in Spanish cinema such the classic ¨El Jueves Milagro¨ by Luis Garcia Berlanga , and recently ¨Visionarios¨(2001) by Manuel Gutiérrez Aragon and ¨No Somos Nadie' (2002) by Jordi Molla . ¨Año Mariano¨ had official selection at Sundance Film Festival . In addition , it won Audiencia Award Toulouse Film Festival 2002 .
The ensemble cast has some nice moments in the film , with two excellent players , Kara Elejalde and Fernando Guillen Cuervo , both of whom writers and filmmakers . The secondary interpreters are pretty good such as Gloria Muñoz , Silvia Bel , the cook Arguiñano , here in a sympathetic support role and veteran Fernando Guillen , director's father . And Manuel Manquiña , a fine secondary actor , he is one of the best reasons for watching the movie and the rest responded well to the new filmmakers . The cinematography is glimmer as well as colorful . This evocative photography was well made by a good expert and deemed to be one of the best Spanish cameramen , Hans Burman, who has a long career such as ¨Guantanamera¨ , ¨Open your eyes¨ , ¨Tesis¨ , ¨Girasoles Ciegos¨ , ¨Lola¨ , ¨Paris Tombuctú¨ and many others . Director Fernando Guillen Cuervo , whose first directorial job this movie is, had some success in the way the film satirizes the peculiar roles ; however here abounds absurd moments and a sour critique to Christianism ; subsequently the directed another title ¨Los Managers¨ that was a commercial flop . Also appears credited as filmmaker/actor Kara Elejalde who ulteriorly filmed another crazy picture titled ¨Torapia¨ . Rating : 5,5/10 . Acceptable and passable .
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