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The Garden of Delights (1970)

El jardín de las delicias (original title)
The greedy relatives of an amnesic and paralytic 45 years old millionaire try him to recover his memory by any means.


Carlos Saura


Rafael Azcona (screenplay), Carlos Saura (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
4 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
José Luis López Vázquez ... Antonio
Luchy Soto ... Luchy
Francisco Pierrá ... Don Pedro (as Francisco Pierra)
Charo Soriano Charo Soriano ... Actriz
Lina Canalejas ... Tía
Julia Peña Julia Peña ... Julia
Mayrata O'Wisiedo Mayrata O'Wisiedo ... Enfermera
Esperanza Roy ... Nicole
Alberto Alonso Alberto Alonso ... Tony
Luis Peña ... Ejecutivo
José Nieto ... Ejecutivo
Antonio Canal Antonio Canal ... Ejecutivo (as Tony Canal)
Eduardo Calvo ... Amigo 4
Marisa Porcel Marisa Porcel ... Criada
Luisa Fernanda Gaona Luisa Fernanda Gaona ... Criada


Surreal look at a family's attempts to shock, bully, frighten, coach, and cajole Antonio Cano into regaining his memory and his management powers after an auto accident. He's middle-aged, wealthy, the leader of a family corporation. After the accident he can't remember his Swiss bank account numbers, can't sign documents, and can't lead his board of directors. His father needs Antonio's recovery to keep family control of the corporation, and Antonio's wife, children, and mistress want access to Antonio's money. They stage elaborate recreations of traumas in his childhood that mix with his own memories and hallucinations. Will they succeed? Will he come out of it? Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

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Release Date:

3 May 1972 (Sweden) See more »

Also Known As:

The Garden of Delights See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Color (Eastmancolor)
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Did You Know?


Written by Richard Witting (uncredited)
Performed by Imperio Argentina
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User Reviews

Strange and surrealist movie including fine actors giving terrific interpretations and decent but slowly directed by Carlos Saura
17 March 2017 | by ma-cortesSee all my reviews

Tragicomedy with good players but deliberate and rarely developed by Carlos Saura . It deals with the middle-aged Antonio (José Luis López Vázquez), chief of a family corporation who suffered a car accident and has his lost memory and being cared by a nurse (Mayrata O'Wisiedo) while is confined on a wheel chair . He belongs an upper-class family formed by ambitious relatives who attempt to coerce , shock , frighten , as well as elaborating stage recreations of traumas in his infancy into regaining his records and his management powers to find out the key of the safe and the Switzerland Bank account numbers . As Antonio's wife (Luchy Soto, this was her last film until early death , at 51) , parents (Francisco Pierrá) , descendants and relatives (Lina Canalejas) want access to Antonio's money and to keep family control of the enterprise formed by various mean executives (José Nieto , Eduardo Calvo , Luis Peña married to Luchy Soto).

Surreal and disconcerting look at a Francoist family in which includes abstract moments about own memories , illusions , metaphors , symbolism , lies and hallucinations . A surrealistic dark comedy/drama with a lot of metaphoric remarks , dreams , records about childhood , and nightmarish in Luis Buñuel style . As it packs several surrealist scenes , Buñuel-alike , such as the medieval knights , the pig at the mansion , the children battles , when Antonio falls into the swimming pool and many others . During the seventies Carlos Saura shot a trilogy produced by Elias Querejeta about the selfish Spanish bourgeoisie or middle-class formed by ¨Jardín De Las Delicias¨ or "The Garden of Delights" (70) , ¨Ana Y Los Lobos¨ or ¨Anna and the wolves¨ (72) and ¨La Prima Angelica¨ or ¨Cousin Angelica¨ (73) . ¨Jardín De Delicias¨ has a symbolic and thoughtful tone , as the eccentric family represented the peculiar Spain ruled by a dark Franquist period . Written by Saura and the prestigious Rafael Azcona , the greatest screenwriter of the Spannih cinema , who when he worked in ¨La Codorniz¨ magazine was discovered by Marco Ferreri to write ¨El Pisito¨ and ¨El Cochecito¨. Again , Carlos Saura uses a political allegory with his particular characters , outstanding the omnipresent José Luis Vazquez along with other member of this Sui-Generis family . There are certainly many other political elements for those familiarized with the Spanish history , such as : a special recreation of the Republic proclamation April 14 , 1931 ; the Spanish Civil War (36-39) and Antonio/Vázquez , Franco-alike , inaugurating reservoirs , and factories . Very good acting by the great José Luis López Vazquez , he is awesome as the amnesic entrepreneur who can't remember his Swiss bank account numbers , can't lead his board of directors and can't sign documents . Atmospheric score by Luis De Pablo , adding the famous ¨Concert of Aranjuez¨, Sergei Prokofiev music : Alexander Newsky , and opera , traditional ,and popular songs , performed by Imperio Argentina and Jena-Uwe Eggert . Evocative cinematography by Luis Cuadrado , Saura's regular , shot on location in El Escorial and Aranjuez , Madrid .

This dark comedy was well produced by Querejeta and compellingly written/directed by Carlos Saura at his usual style , being dedicated to his wife Geraldine Chaplin who appears briefly . Saura is a good Spanish movies director who goes on nowadays filmmaking . He began working in cinema in 1959 when he filmed ¨Los Golfos ¨(1962) dealing with juvenile delinquency from a sociological point of view . Later on , he made ¨LLanto Por Un Bandido¨ or "Weeping for a Bandit" (1964) starred by an all European-star-cast . Saura is a well recognized filmmaker both nationally and internationally , and in proof of it he won a lot of prizes among which there are the following ones : Silver Bear in Festival of Berlin for ¨Peppermint Frappé¨ (1967) and the successful ¨La Caza¨ (1966) that also won numerous prizes in International Festivals and in which four characters facing each other and terminating into a jarring burst of violence and being full of political allegories . Saura achieved Special Jury Awards in Cannes for ¨La Prima Angélica¨ (1974) , and for ¨Cría Cuervos¨ (1976) . Also, the surrealistic and disconcerting comedy ¨Mamá Cumple Cien Años¨ (1979) got an Oscar nomination in 1979 as the best foreign film , and it also won the Special Jury Award at the San Sebastian Festival . He subsequently made ¨Deprisa , Deprisa¨ based on facts about juvenile delinquency in Spain of the 80s , as he tried to take a position in favour of outcast people and he got to make a both lyric and documentary-style cinema . In 1990 , he won two Goya , The Spanish Oscar , as best adapted screenplay writer and best director . Saura became an expert on Iberian musical adaptations as ¨Carmen¨ , ¨Amor Brujo¨ , ¨Bodas De Sangre¨ , ¨Sevillanas¨ , ¨Iberia¨ , ¨Salome¨ , ¨Fado¨ , ¨Flamenco¨ and even recently Opera as ¨Io , Don Giovanni

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