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Miracles of Thursday – 1957 Berlanga
- Berlanga’s fifth film was controversial in Spain- censored. Like his previous efforts, it is an ensemble comedy, he’s really riffing on Italian Neorealism (in a much lighter way than say Bunuel)
- Like both Welcome Mr. Marshall! and The Rocket from Calabuch there is a voice-over narration introducing you to the small town- in this case it is the village of Fontecilla—“the train passes through without stopping”
- It is Berlanga’s most accomplished film visually to date in 1957. There’s a shot at the 2-minute mark of various cups and bowls and basins catching the leaking rain – they’re staggered throughout the screen at various depths—it is the best shot of his oeuvre to date
- Full of Berlanga’s trademark wit—“she’s dying again”, another ensemble—there’s no lead here. I mean Richard Basehart (Berlanga is using an English-speaking actor, dubbed, as his star again like Gwenn in Rocket) is a big name but he doesn’t show up until 43-minutes into a film under 90-minutes. José Isbert is part of the ensemble again
- About six men contriving a miracle to help local commerce- a farce. They lose control of this as it spirals out of control. This is Preston Sturges hypocrisy/comedy territory. He even has “Miracle” in the title like Sturges. Decades later we have Bogdanovich with like Paper Moon as well.
- At the 24-minute mark a great frame- the rope from the church bell is in the front left of the screen with an open door in the back right with light pouring in.
- Banners, community—if you added newspaper clipping cutaways you’d have Capra’s community here
- At the 36-minute mark a reverse crane shot overhead pulling back as the town gathers for the miracle
- For the second time in a few years Basehart plays the sort of Christ-figure with jokes (La Strada)
- Recommend / Highly Recommend border