Belle Epoque is a movie with multiple social, political, and religious contrasts. Directed by Fernando Trueba, the tragic comedy presents a curious excerpt of pre-republican Spain. Death and life, rich and poor, agnostic and religious, libertine and monarchist, deserter and loyalist, old and young, marriage and divorce, trust and deceit, love and hate, past and future; these make an incomplete list of the complex sub-structures within the movie. In my opinion, the sensational arrival of Amalia becomes the focal point and, in turn, she becomes the embodiment of all the contrasts in order that one can more clearly understand the Spain of 1931 (in the imagination of the scriptwriter, of course).All the contrasts of the characters are joyously poised at the precipitous edge of a fleeting belle époque. Almost every contrast is sensationalized within the character of Amalia. She makes an emphatic entrance as the enthusiastic artist which contrasts starkly with the artistic dearth of Manolo. Her presence represents the shock value which cultural contrasts can impose upon society.
As such, Belle époque is a masterpiece of the deconstruction of an episodic society. The indeterminate machinations of social contrasts invigorate life with definition and purpose. Trueba show us how they affect the sub-structures of culture just as tranquilly as the ebb and flow of the ocean's tide.