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The Man with Thousand Faces (2016)

El hombre de las mil caras (original title)
1:14 | Trailer
The story of a man who fooled an entire country. A tale of cheats and impostors, taking its inspiration from true facts and from one of the most intriguing characters of recent decades: the spy Francisco Paesa.


Alberto Rodríguez


Manuel Cerdán (book), Rafael Cobos | 1 more credit »
23 wins & 33 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Jose Coronado ... Jesús Camoes
Eduard Fernández ... Francisco Paesa
Miquel García Borda ... Inversor 1
Santiago Molero Santiago Molero ... Inversor 2
Jimmy Shaw ... Inversor 3
Craig Stevenson ... Georges Starckman
Rafael Sandoval Rafael Sandoval ... Detective
Ramón Rados Ramón Rados ... Rafael Vera
Emilio Gutiérrez Caba ... Osorno
Mireia Portas Mireia Portas ... Gloria
Carlos Santos ... Luis Roldán
Marta Etura ... Nieves Fernández Puerto
Christian Stamm ... Hans
Enric Benavent Enric Benavent ... Casturelli
Philippe Rebbot Philippe Rebbot ... Pinaud


The story of a man who fooled an entire country. A tale of cheats and impostors, taking its inspiration from true facts and from one of the most intriguing characters of recent decades: the spy Francisco Paesa.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The story of the man who deceived a whole country


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Spanish | French | English

Release Date:

23 September 2016 (Spain) See more »

Also Known As:

El espía de las mil caras See more »

Filming Locations:

Madrid, Madrid, Spain See more »


Box Office


€5,000,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital | Dolby Atmos

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Carlos Santos gained 10 kilos and shaved his head partly, for the role or Luis Roldán See more »


Jesús Camoes: Like all true stories, it contains a few lies.
See more »


Tanto mientes, tanto vales
Written by Julio de la Rosa
Performed by Helena Goch
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User Reviews

The intriguing and twisted story of two rogue and greedy men : Luis Roldán and Francisco Paesa , being based on true events
11 November 2016 | by ma-cortesSee all my reviews

The story of two men , Luis Roldán and Francisco Paesa who fooled an entire country . As Roldán became the first civilian to command the Spanish Civil Guard and under his direction women were hired for the first time at the Civil Guard . Then a big scandal of corruption arose in 1993 , upon initiation of prosecution for his criminal activities , Luis Roldán escaped from Spain in 1994 . Roldán fled the country in early 1994 when it was discovered that he had used his office to amass a fortune through fraudulent means , resulting in the resignation of Interior Minister Antoni Asunción , responsible for monitoring Roldán , as a consequence . Luis (Carlos Santos) , his wife Nieves Fernández (Marta Etura) and supported by their friend , the seductive pilot Jesús Camoes (José Coronado) ask for help the notorious spy Francisco Paesa (Eduard Fernández) . Later on , Roldán was arrested on February 27 , 1995 , amidst claims that Roldán and the Socialist government led by Interior Minister , Juan Alberto Belloch (Luis Calleja) and his State Secretary , Rafael Vera (Ramón Rados) , had reached an agreement in which Roldán would surrender himself in exchange of him being charged of just two minor crimes . These claims came to be known as the "Laos papers", yet the PSOE government refused to recognize their veracity .

This is an exciting and thrilling story , being plenty of cheats and impostors , taking its inspiration from true facts and from two of the most intriguing characters of recent decades : the corrupt Civil Guard director Luis Roldán and the roguish spy Francisco Paesa . Eduard Fernández gives a masterful acting as Paesa , the rogue agent of the Spanish secret service and arms dealer . Jose Coronado is very well as the womanizer pilot as well as Paesa's accomplice , as the film being told through the eyes of this swindler . Carlos Santos is awesome as Roldán , the ruler of the Spanish Civil Guard , and Carlos bears remarkable physical resemblance to him . The film develops extensively a peculiar caper designed by Paesa when Roldán was arrested on February 27, 1995 in Bangkok , in fact Roldán claimed the Socialist government had reached an agreement in which Roldán would surrender himself in exchange of him being charged of just two crimes : bribery and embezzlement . The picture contains a thrilling and suspenseful musical score by Julio De Rosa . Colorful as well as evocative cinematography by award-winning Alex Catalan . The motion picture was compellingly directed by Alberto Rodríguez . This prestigious filmmaker has shot various successes as ¨7 Virgins¨ , ¨El Traje¨ , ¨Factor Pilgrim¨ , and his greatest hit : ¨La Isla Minima¨ . Goya Award-winning director Alberto Rodríguez is nominated for his third Golden Shell following 2014's Marshland and 2005's 7 Virgins . This multi-prized film won several awards , as it won in San Sebastián International Film Festival 2016 : Feroz Zinemaldia Award to Alberto Rodríguez , it won Silver Seashell Best Actor : Eduard Fernández and Nominated Golden Seashell Best Film . Rating : 7.5/10 , the latest from the director of "The Man with Thousand Faces" or international title "Smoke & Mirrors" is rated above average , well worth watching .

The film is well based on actual happenings , these are the followings : Luis Roldán Ibáñez is a former Spanish Socialist Workers' Party politician known for being the director general of the Spanish Civil Guard . He created in 1991 the Maritime Service of the Civil Guard and enhanced the counterterrorism information services that obtained great success in the infiltration within the ETA band such as the detention of the head of the organization in Bidart on March 29, 1992. Then , Roldán escaped with great lots of money robbed from the Guardia Civil . During his time missing, Roldán sent letters admitting and accusing other Interior Ministry high-ranking members from having received bonus payments from the reserved funds theoretically destined to finance the fight against terrorism and drug trafficking . Among those he accused was former minister José Luis Corcuera , but also PM González of 'being aware of everything'. This case, along with the GAL case, greatly contributed to the defeat of the PSOE in the 1996 general election . Upon initiation of prosecution for his criminal activities, Luis Roldán escaped from Spain in 1994 . He surrendered in 1995 at the airport in Bangkok . Between 1996 and 1998 he was tried in a court of Madrid. He was sentenced to 28 years in prison for several crimes , the Supreme Court increased to 31 years. He was from February 1995 in the female prison of Brieva (Ávila). In 2005 he was allowed out of prison to work in an intermediate regime between the second and third degree.

-The other protagonist , Francisco Paesa , also has a wide and unsettling biography : In 1976 he was arrested by Interpol in Belgium and imprisoned in Switzerland and it is believed that he collaborated with the paramilitary group GAL . After serving the sentence he posed as an arms dealer who sold two antiaircraft missiles to ETA . The terrorist group did not know that the missiles had a location signal and its provider was collaborating with the Spanish secret service. The police could find, for the first time , a major hideout in which a large number of weapons and documents were stored during the Sokoa Operation . Until then , the Spanish government knew virtually nothing about ETA logistics and this operation was an important turning point. Being issued a warrant of arrest of Francisco Paesa on December 1, 1988 for collaboration with armed band and use of false identities . In 1998 he faked a fatal cardiac arrest in Thailand . Obituaries were published and a death certificate was forged .

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