Luis García Berlanga was one of Spain’s most renowned filmmakers, with praise regularly heaped upon the likes of ¡Bienvenido Mister Marshall! (1952), Plácido (1961) and El Verdugo (1963). His later works however are much less well known outside Spain. This is a great shame as they certainly stand favourable comparison with his best.
So, this year ¡Viva! is delighted to screen two key examples of the director’s films from the 1980s: La Vaquilla (The Heifer) and Patrimonio nacional (National Heritage).
Born in Valencia in 1921, the son of a Republican politician, Berlanga’s interest in filmmaking began in the mid 1940s. During the Franco regime he developed a special skill for outwitting the Spanish censors, releasing 11 films during this era. He often worked in collaboration with other Spanish luminaries, such as Juan Antonio Bardem and Rafael Azcona, as he became a master of satire and irony who was lauded internationally throughout his career, as well as receiving numerous national awards and prestigious honours in the post dictatorship period.