February 27, 2011

Bienvenido Mister Roberts

Our friend Alberto (who works for my gallerist in Barcelona, Miguel Marcos), told me of his affection for this movie, whose theme is about the encounter of American and Spanish culture in the early 1950's. This has resonance for me since I was born in Madrid, spawn of a Filipina (my grandfather sent his children to Spain to finish their schooling) and an American, my father who was stationed at Torrej?n Air Base. It was an era when Franco was opening up Spain after the disaster of the Spanish Civil War. This film cast a light on two parts of the triangular aspect of my heritage, my ambition to connect to Spain is for me a dream come true.

From Wikipedia, a brief summary:

Welcome Mr. Marshall!, or ?Bienvenido, Mr. Marshall! is a 1953 Spanish comedy film directed by Luis Garc?a Berlanga and considered one of the masterpieces of Spanish cinema. It tells the story of a small Spanish town, Villar del R?o, which hears of the visit of American diplomats and begins preparations to impress the American visitors in the hopes of benefitting under the Marshall Plan.

A central theme of the film is the stereotypes held by both the Spanish and the Americans regarding the culture of the other. Hoping to demonstrate the side of Spanish culture with which the visiting American officials will be most accustomed, the citizens of Villar del R?o (Soria) don unfamiliar Andalusian costumes, hire a renowned flamenco performer, and redecorate their town in Andalusian style. Later in the film, each of the central characters has a dream in which different aspects of stereotypical American culture and history are featured. One consists of a Western-like bar brawl, another the arrival of a conquistador on New World shores.

The film was entered into the 1953 Cannes Film Festival.

Posted by Dennis at February 27, 2011 4:10 PM

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