Friday, June 09, 2006

Kulture Korner....Un Franco, 14 Pesetas

Having adopted the Spanish ‘radikal graffiti’ habit of changing my C’s into K’s, it’s time to write about something different. The films I write about will usually be Spanish or international independent cinema, I don’t get round to seeing most of the product that comes from the Hollywood machine and I doubt I’ll feel much temptation to write about it. This week’s recommended film, “Un Franco, 14 Pesetas”, is directed by Spanish actor Carlos Iglesias. It tells the story of two friends who decide to leave Madrid to try their luck working in Switzerland in the 1960’s. Arriving in a Swiss village with the idea of maybe staying for a year, they end up spending years of their life there working in a factory. Later joined in the village by family in one case and girlfriend in the other, the film portrays their reaction to life in another country and the difficulties of language and loneliness that it can present.

It seems hard to imagine, now that Spain is a country of immigration, but in the 1950’s and 1960’s hundreds of thousands of people left Spain to work abroad motivated by a variety of factors; lack of opportunities at home, poverty, adventure, or the stifling atmosphere of Franco’s Spain. Some left for a short period only, some of the others have never returned – amongst other things the film touches on the difficulties of adapting back to life in Madrid in the 1960’s after experiencing life in a wealthier country, apparently based on the director’s own experiences as the child of emigrants.

It won’t be my Spanish film of the year, because I’ve already seen two that I think are better, but it’s still highly recommended. Maybe soon we will see a similar film from Morocco, Ecuador or Romania that tells the story of those who now come to Spain looking for a better life.

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