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The Spanish Mirth: The Comedic Films of Luis García Berlanga

Friday, March 29, 2013
7:00 p.m. ¡Bienvenido, Mr. Marshall!
Luis García Berlanga (Spain, 1953)

Archival Print!

(Welcome, Mr. Marshall!). When the regional governor arrives in the quiet town of Villar del Río with news that dignitaries representing the Marshall Plan, a commission doling out economic incentives, will be visiting, the quiet is broken by the din of crazy expectation. Led by their half-deaf mayor, the townsfolk come up with a plan to impress the delegation: they’ll reinvent themselves as a postcard-perfect Andalusian village, replete with flamenco dancers, colorful bunting, and bullfights. Berlanga’s jocular jab at Spanish identity bellows with a belly-full of contradictory but coveted desires, from the humble townsfolk dreaming of free cows, to the testy priest suspicious of godless Americans. If foibles were dollars Villar del Río would be rolling in dough. 

—Steve Seid

• Written by Berlanga and Juan Antonio Bardem. Photographed by Manuel Berenguer. With Elvira Quintilla, Lolita Sevilla, Manolo Moran, José Isbert. (86 mins, In Spanish with English subtitles, B&W, 35mm)