¡Ay, Carmela! (1990)

PG-13   |    |  Comedy, Drama, War

¡Ay, Carmela! (1990) Poster

During the Spanish Civil War, a group of comics lightens the days of the Republican troops. Tired of life in the front lines, they make their way to Valencia, accidentally entering enemy land and falling prisoner.




  • Carmen Maura in ¡Ay, Carmela! (1990)
  • Gabino Diego, Carmen Maura, and Andrés Pajares in ¡Ay, Carmela! (1990)
  • Gabino Diego, Carmen Maura, Andrés Pajares, and Carlos Saura in ¡Ay, Carmela! (1990)
  • Carmen Maura and Andrés Pajares in ¡Ay, Carmela! (1990)
  • Carmen Maura in ¡Ay, Carmela! (1990)
  • Carmen Maura and Andrés Pajares in ¡Ay, Carmela! (1990)

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Cast & Crew

Top Billed Cast


Carlos Saura


Rafael Azcona, José Sanchis Sinisterra (play), Carlos Saura

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3 August 2013 | ma-cortes
| A Varietee' company takes on difficulties , shortages and dangers during Spanish Civil War
This dramatic film with comical elements deals about lives of a group of artists and comics that travel around the country in hard times the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939). Carmela (Carmen Maura), his husband Paulino (Andres Pajares) and their mute helper Gustavete (Gabino Diego) are street performers who entertain the Republican troops after the battle in Aragon , 1938 . The trio of troubadours touring scenarios decides to seek a less dangerous destination . However, the Republican trio by mistake go to the national zone and immediately are arrested by a captain (Jose Sancho) . Suspecting that all of them collaborate with the Republican rebels opposite to the Francoist Regime they are imprisoned by a Lieutenant (Miguel Rellan) and they fear a firing squad , but receive a reprieve from an Italian Fascist commander who loves the theatre . As an Italian Lieutenant named Ripamonte (Maurizio De Razza) arranges a performance for his troops , playing burlesque , bargaining with Paulino to stage a burlesque show in exchange for the actors' freedom.

This is an interesting story about human beings , three sympathetic troubadours touring the countryside during the Spanish Civil War and how they cope with this unsettling nightmare ; including their pain , poverty but also some mirth and joy . Drama with historical and hilarious elements ; including enjoyable performances and adequate set design by Rafael Palmero. ¨¡Ay Carmela¡¨ results to be other of the innumerable stories to deal with dramatic deeds regarding the Civil War background . A familiar theme about the global horrors of a fratricide war , impossible to forget to our cinema . An agreeable as well as dramatical story plenty of enjoyable moments , moving feelings , wonderful songs , attractive musical score by Alejandro Masso and tragic finale . Above all , the acting is first rate , as Carmen Maura gives a terrific acting as the fiery and patriotic Carmela, along with Andres Pajares who won several national as international prizes . The story describes the penury and sadness of a nation at recent war which itself is expressed through the tortuous mental , emotional processes and final nervous breakdown Carmen Maura goes through . Director Carlos Saura , also writes the interesting script along with prestigious screenwriter Rafael Azcona , Luis Garcia Berlanga's usual writer . Carlos Saura conveys us the escalating tension before the show in important measure of difficult along with an ironic humor backstage . Filmed in his usual formal and stylistic scholarship , but plenty of marvelously ancient songs , musical numbers and without leaving a trace the thought-provoking issues , in terms of dramatic and narrative excitement . The flick can be defined as a realistic tragedy-drama , a romantic history , a historic/comical fresco and a socio-political fable . This theme about a troupe constantly being dragged back to the reality of war and in an extreme situation continues through the picture . The flick bears remarkable resemblance to subsequently directed by Emilio Aragon titled "Paper Birds" by Emilio Aragon with Imanol Arias , Luis Homar , but the latter failed as box office with indifferent reception by public as critical . Good support cast with prestigious Spanish secondaries as Luis Rellan , Jose Sancho , Maurizio De Razza , and Chema Mazo , among others . Including a spotless pictorial cinematography by Jose Luis Alcaine and a willingness , almost perfect of the elements of each shot , every sequence, every space .

The motion picture was stunningly written and directed by Carlos Saura He is one of the best Spanish movies director . He began working in cinema in 1959 when he filmed ¨Los Golfos ¨(1962) dealing with juvenile delinquency from a sociological point of view . He subsequently made LLanto por Un Bandido (1964) starred by an European all-star-cast . Saura is a well recognized filmmaker both nationally and internationally, and in proof of it he won many 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 . Saura achieved Special Jury Awards in Cannes for La Prima Angélica (1974), in 1973, and for Cría Cuervos (1976), in 1975. Also, the film 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 since 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

Critic Reviews


Release Date:

13 September 1990


Spanish, Polish, Italian

Country of Origin

Spain, Italy

Filming Locations

Boadilla del Monte, Madrid, Spain

Box Office

Gross USA:


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