7 November 2016 | ma-cortes
Fernando Fernán Gómez plays and directs compellingly this peculiar black comedy with surprising goings-on
1975 , in a small village of provinces , the life monotonous of the village is only broken for the news of the death of Franco , it has a special resonance in the left-wing family formed by Florentina (Maria Asquerino) , her daughter Encarna (Emma Cohen) , her the dominant and serious son-in-law Hilario (Agustin González) and the children of the marriage , Juanita (Nuria Gallardo) and Manolín (Jorge Sanz). At the same time , Florentina informs the rest of the family of a much more important announcement than the dictator's death : her husband Emiliano (Fernando Fernán Gómez) , who allegedly died during the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939) is alive . As during the most hard times of the general Franco dictatorship , he has remained hidden in the home basement . However , nowadays , the family wants the Republican grand-father goes on dead in order to take his pension .
Splendid movie that mingles black comedy , drama , rural conventionality , social habits , criticism and ¨Esperpento¨ . This is a piece of absurdity and nonsense , full of comical situations , family tragedy and strange happenings . This is not the typical comedy by that time , here there is a brief social denounce about the repression during Franco dictatorship , dealing with family ambition and egoism . Black humor gives way to strange as well as hilarious incidents , closely followed by embarrassing events that doesn't take long in coming to a head in a surprising ending . Co-written by Pedro Beltrán , a prestigious writer/actor/poet/bullfighter who collaborated with Fernán Gómez in some good films as ¨Bruja Mas Que Bruja¨ , ¨El Picaro¨ TV series and specially ¨El Extraño Viaje¨ also concerning a weird rural , but wealthy , right-wing family , and in ¨Mambru Went to War¨ dealing with a lower-class and leftist family . The best parts of this Dramedy result to be the enjoyable descriptions of the villagers with colorful characters , including the ordinary roles : the priest played by Francisco Vidal repeating his classic role from ¨Crónicas De Un Pueblo¨ series , the Mayor performed by Alfonso Del Real , the Guardia Civil acted by Francisco Casáres , and the ruthless , egoistic son-in-law masterfully interpreted by Agustin González . The picture has some unforgettable scenes as when it happens the escapade of Emiliano and he plays the drummer against the villagers . This issue about a deceased parent and whose family carries out an astute plan to seem to be alive or -in this case dead- has been adapted other times in the Spanish cinema , such as : ¨Vivan los Novios¨(1970) by Luis Garcia Berlanga , ¨Carne De Gallina¨ (2002) by Javier Maqua ,¨Amador¨ (2010) by Fernando León De Aranoa , and ¨Carmina o Revienta¨ (2012) by Paco León . Very good acting by Fernando Fernán Gómez as Emiliano , the grandfather who had been given up for dead in the Spanish civil war and during Franco's regime , hidden in family home itself , he gives a magnificent acting thanks to his booming voice , stern and imposing physical presence and at the end of the movie he turns into irascible temper . Fernando was an excellent player working from the 40s . He later became one of the most recognizable faces of Spanish cinema during the ensuing 36-year-long dictatorship of Gen. Francisco Franco . One of Spain's most beloved entertainers , best known to American filmgoers for playing the father in the Oscar-winning foreign film Belle Epoque (1992).
The picture is well set in the eighties , splendidly photographed by the notorious cameraman Jose Luis Alcaine , being stunningly shot on location , in Algete , Madrid . The pic offers a colorful and evocative cinematography by the great cameraman Jose Luis Alcaine who was first cinematographer to use fluorescent tube as "key" lightning and deemed to be one of the best Spanish cameramen . Alcaine frequently works with Pedro Almodóvar , Bigas Luna and Vicente Aranda , as he has photographed ¨The skin I live in¨ , ¨The bad education¨ , ¨Volver¨ , ¨Women in the verge of a nervous breakdown¨ , among others . In addition , it packs and atmospheric and evocative score by Carmelo Bernaola . The motion picture was well directed by Fernando Fernán Gómez who appeared in more than 200 films , directed another 20 and wrote novels , plays and poetry . He was a member of the Spanish Royal Academy and one of the best actors of the film history . Along with Icíar Bollaín , he's the only person to have been nominated as performer (El Abuelo (1998), director (El Viaje a Ninguna Parte (1986) and writer (Lázaro De Tormes (2001) for three different movies at the Goya awards . He actually won in every category at least once . This prolific and prestigious actor also directed a few films , such as : ¨Lazaro De Tormes¨ , ¨Fuera De Juego ¨, ¨Mambrú Se Fue a La Guerra¨ , ¨5 Tenedores¨ , ¨5.000 Dias Juntos¨ , ¨Ninette¨ , ¨Venganza De Don Mendo¨ , ¨El Extraño Viaje¨ that is today deemed a real ¨Cult Movie¨ and his greatest success ¨Viaje a Ninguna Parte¨ .