This year marks the 100th anniversary of the birth of Juan Antonio Bardem, one of the great names in the history of Spanish cinema. Like last year with Luis García Berlanga, this centenary is a perfect excuse to recognize the capital importance that it has had in the history of our culture, in addition to its importance in other areas.
For this reason, it is necessary to do one of these usual reviews, where we rescue some essential jewels of those great names of cinema. In the different streaming platforms we can enjoy these three masterpieces with which to soak up his great talenteither directly as a director or as a screenwriter.
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‘Welcome Mr Marshall’ (1953)
Director: Luis Garcia Berlanga. Distribution: José Isbert, Lolita Sevilla, Manolo Morán, Alberto Romea, Elvira Quintilla.
After collaborating together as directors on their debut feature, Bardem co-wrote the script with Berlanga on the latter’s second film, which is considered almost the absolute masterpiece of his career. Everything that matters about berlanguismo is already present here, loaded with bile to make a fabulous satire of the promise of foreign investment.
Watch on HBO Max | Criticism in Espinof
‘Death of a Cyclist’ (1955)
Director: Juan Antonio Bardem. Distribution: Lucía Bosé, Alberto Closas, Bruna Corrà, Carlos Casaravilla, Otello Toso.
One of the greatest feats of our cinema, articulated in the form of a film noir of just over an hour and twenty minutes. Bardem manages to combine the thriller and psychological drama of Alfred Hitchcock with his critical discourse against Franco’s society and the bourgeoisie, drawing on neorealism to anchor the proposal. An excellent exercise in suspense that is not afraid to shoot up.
See on RTVE Play, on FlixOlé and on Movistar+
‘High Street’ (1956)
Director: Juan Antonio Bardem. Distribution: Betsy Blair, José Suárez, Yves Massard, Luis Peña, Dora Doll, Alfonso Godá.
A harsh social portrait of Spain in the mid-20th century -although part of the problems it points out still persist to a certain extent-, configured in an exquisite and biting drama. Bitter as well as committed, playing with details of neorealism to make a powerful criticism, almost to the point of being completely censored by the Franco dictatorship. Luckily, it has endured to continue to amaze us.
See on RTVE Play and on FlixOlé