In a small spanish town, a group of old ladies decide to celebrate Christmas Eve with a "Sit a poor man at your table" dinner: each wealthy household of the town will have a homeless person...
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In a small spanish town, a group of old ladies decide to celebrate Christmas Eve with a "Sit a poor man at your table" dinner: each wealthy household of the town will have a homeless person dining with them that night. The celebrations also include a parade, and in it we find Plácido, the humble owner of a three-wheeler, whose family is forced to live in a public lavatory because of the lack of money to pay the rent, and who has to pay the second bill of his vehicle before midnight or else he will lose it.Written by
The film was originally going to be titled "Siente a un pobre a su mesa" ("seat a poor man at your table"), but this was ultimately changed because the Spanish censorship would not allow it. See more »
Venerable Spanish director Luis García Berlanga's hyperbolically frenetic social satire PLACIDO is an Oscar nominee for BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM and Palme d'or contestant, and guilefully circumvents the censor of Franco's government by subsuming his trenchant sideswipes into the pandemonium of a farcical dynamo.
The story takes place exclusively on the day before Christmas, in a small Spanish town, to celebrate the festival, each of the wealthy families will invite one poor citizen to each one's Christmas Eve dinner, to be a Good Samaritan for one day, (but even that, would be too big a challenge for many of them, Berlanga makes sure that the acerbic irony doesn't lose itself in the swamp of shameless plugging) . And Placido (comedian Cassen in his film debut) is an unassuming man who must pay his bill before midnight, otherwise he will lose his motor-vehicle (and his family stays in the public lavatory because they cannot afford the rent). He is hired by Gabino Quintanilla (Vázquez, a masterful nexus in the convoluted morass), the photographer of the so-called "set a poor man at your table" charity event, to participate the Christmas parade in the afternoon with his vehicle, after he picks up a band of film stars in the train stations, who will participate in the charity auction afterwards.
Rambunctious from A to Z, this comedy distinguishes itself as an interminably garrulous talkie, which sets a built-in hindrance to those subtitle-dependent first-time viewers, it could be an excruciatingly daunting experience since the devil is in the details, and it is plain physically impossible to get on board with all comings and goings at that speed. The charity plugging continues with an effervescent flurry of episodes where bourgeois hypocrisy, nagging nuisances, contemptible unkindness inexorably career through the night with Placido persistently tailing behind to make both ends meet.
A plethora of named Spanish actors appears on the roster to enliven the burlesque merry-go- round, which predominantly caters for its home-turf demography who can trace a piquant whiff of self-referentiality out of its rowdy mockery, and also accentuates Berlanga's rhythmic legerdemain to affix a catenation of skits scene to scene in a non-stop fashion, however, in the eyes of an outsider, its efficacy is potently eclipsed by his tangibly more mordant social critique THE EXECUTIONER (1963).
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