Carnival in Flanders

“One of the rare, perfect works of the screen, this comedy masterpiece suggests a fusion of Breughel and Boccaccio. It is a morning in 1616; a Spanish regiment comes to a town in occupied Flanders. The cowardly burghers collapse, and their charming ladies meet the challenge: with the dawn the Spaniards depart, poorer in worldly goods, richer in experience. Nothing is attempted which is not achieved. The drawback to this kind of classical perfection is a trace of dullness - expectations are too neatly fulfilled; movies with rough edges and bad spots are sometimes more exciting. This is a classic movie comedy which isn't really very funny - not so much because the thirties' ‘sophisticated' treatment of sexual collaboration is undermined by our awareness of what happened in the forties but because it's just too archly classic.”

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