Garci's "Tiovivo c. 1950" could be considered as a deserving heir to Camus' "La Comena", based on Camilo José Cela's marvelous novel. As its predecessor, "Tiovivo" has virtually no plot, and limits itself to representing the lives of a bunch of people in the Madrid of the post-war era.
The cast is simply impressive, it looks like just any actor who was available was summoned by Garci to star in his film. However, we would have liked to see a bit more of some actors who appear in little more than glorified cameos (Fernando Fernán Gómez, Ana Fernández or Beatriz Rico, to name just a few). There are some extremely fine performances from the likes of Alfredo Landa, Tina Sáinz, Andrea Tenuta or, surprisingly enough, Elsa Pataky and Francis Lorenzo. All of them make the most of their bit parts in this ensemble piece, but the heart and soul of the picture is Aurora Bautista, who plays a destitute woman who sells religious stamps.
Taking into account that the movie has virtually no plot, there is no apparent reason to make a two-hour-and-a-half movie. There are so many great stories, but I couldn't help to wonder whether the film would have benefited if Garci had kept a few of them for a further project. The eventual result is overlong, and definitely not as good as "You're the one" or "Historia de un beso", but it is still worth a watch if only for the great performances.
Overall rating: 7/10
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