The Spanish Mirth: The Comedic Films of Luis García Berlanga

3/29/13 to 4/17/13

Beginning his directorial career in the midst of Franco's regime, Luis García Berlanga (1921–2010) evaded much outright censorship by disguising his subversive views in stinging satire. Often credited with helping to reshape midcentury Spanish cinema, he spared no one his wicked humor, which was paired with an irrepressible and zestful anarchy. We are pleased to screen seven of his films, all in archival imported prints.

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Past Films

  • La escopeta nacional

    • Wednesday, April 17 7 pm

    Luis García Berlanga (Spain, 1978). Archival print! An oily manufacturer sponsors a hunt on the estate of a nobleman who has fallen on hard times. Berlanga's madcap Escopeta (Shotgun) stays on target with a load of high-impact and hilarious shot. (95 mins)

  • Tamaño natural

    • Sunday, April 14 5:30 pm

    Luis García Berlanga (Spain/France, 1973). Archival print! Michel Piccoli is a Parisian oral surgeon with a new lover: a life-size sex doll from Japan. By turns rapturously absurd and innocently obscene, Tamaño natural is really about the demure dentist's estrangement from things human and fleshy. (101 mins)

  • ¡Vivan los novios!

    • Friday, April 12 7 pm

    Luis García Berlanga (Spain, 1970). Archival print! Hoping to seduce some Swedish sirens before getting married, a timid bank clerk leaves his ailing mother behind and heads to the beach; when his mother dies, however, things get comically complicated. (83 mins)

  • El verdugo

    • Saturday, April 6 6:30 pm

    Luis García Berlanga (Spain, 1964). Archival print! An official executioner must appoint a successor who, if luck has it, will also marry his desirable daughter. Berlanga's masterpiece is a dark comedy backlit by the knowledge that in Franco's regime execution was the penalty of choice. (88 mins)

  • Plácido

    • Thursday, April 4 7 pm

    Luis García Berlanga (Spain, 1961). Archival print! A charity campaign suggests “Sit a Poor Person at Your Table” in Berlanga's frantic, gag-riddled romp. Filled with hilarious barbs, impious prattle, and high society comeuppance, you'll revel in a surplus of black humor. (85 mins)

  • The Rocket from Calabuch

    • Sunday, March 31 3 pm

    Luis García Berlanga (Spain, 1956). Archival print! An A-bomb-building physicist hides out from the nuclear age in a seaside town. Mistaken for a tramp, he's soon accepted as one of the townsfolk's own in this quirky, Pagnol-by-way-of-Spain comedy. (93 mins)

  • ¡Bienvenido, Mr. Marshall!

    • Friday, March 29 7 pm

    Luis García Berlanga (Spain, 1953). Archival print! A tiny Spanish backwater pulls out all the stops to reinvent itself as a postcard-perfect Andalusian village-complete with flamenco dancing, bullfights, and more-in order to impress delegates doling out financial rewards in Berlanga's satirical jab at Spanish national values. (86 mins)