Berlanga built up a reputation for miraculously avoiding censorship in the years of Franco´s dictatorship. He was forced to disguise his satires making light hearted comedies unlikely balanced with acurate social observation. In this film he was finally free from this restrictions -after 1975- and was presented the chance and the challenge to carry out his vision. Instead of going for a radical change he simply sharpened his style with a technically neutral point of view, letting the spontaneous dialogues speak volumes for themselves. He fully developed his taste for lively scenes in long shots full of characters featuring demented shades of local customs and manners.
The point is playing with those characters´ mannerisms and making them interact in the most organic way possible, turning the camera invisible. The plot feels like a natural stream of moments in real time more than a conventional sequence of events. Berlanga´s criticism is finally limitless but comedy always comes first. The notes on religion, power or how hard it is to get anything done in that place are never sour but cheerful displays of humanism, clear of judgement.
The main character being an outsider -a catalonian businessman with modern, more european manners- should help a foreign audience to gradually push out into that odd world. I consider this film to be a must-see for any film aficionado from anywhere in the world, more so if you have any liking for italian comedies. Excellent film value, legendary actors and it´s absolutely hilarious, at least for my standards. Criminally underrated.
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