On Christmas Eve in a small provincial Spanish town, the ‘sit a poor man at your table’ charity initiative is in full swing. The local bourgeoisie welcome the B-list movie starlets from Madrid, auctioned off as dinner guests of honour, but only in tandem with a token poor person invited to share the good fortune of wealthier families for one night only. Meanwhile minivan driver Plácido struggles to make his first loan instalment before the bank closes for Christmas, dashing about in the bitter cold, with his hungry family in tow. Naturally not all goes to plan with the grand charitable event, which reveals petty jealousies, illicit affairs and absurd bureaucracy, as Berlanga deftly skewers the hypocrisy, selfishness, venality, egomania, paternalism, and inequalities of ‘respectable society’.
Directed by Luis García Berlanga