The Last Laugh: An Alternate History of Spanish Comedy

The Last Laugh: An Alternate History of Spanish Comedy

Spanish cinema, new and old, will be brought together to show off the recurring ‘grotesque humor’ found in the nation’s film history.

The Film Society’s series is a provocative investigation into the essence of Spanish national identity. Politically charged, with healthy doses of black humor, the films portray how drastically Spanish culture and society have changed over the last 60 years at the same time that they show how many aspects of Spain have hardly changed at all.

Opening the series will be José Luis Cuerda’s Amanece, que no es poco, a satire of the nation told through vignettes, absurdity, and the darkest of black humor. Cuerda, whose career began in television, has been creating films since the mid-70s. Amanece, que no es poco, released in 1989, was one of the first big-screen films for the director, and remains as one of his wildest. In addition to his writing and directing, Cuerda has been more recently involved as producer and executive producer for the films of acclaimed Chilean filmmaker Alejandro Amenábar, including Tesis, Open Your Eyes, and English-language thriller The Others.

In addition to Amanece, que no es poco, highlights include titles such as Luis García Berlanga’s 1963 Not on Your Life (El verdugo), a no-holds-barred film about an executioner on the verge of retirement who tricks a funeral parlor employee into becoming his heir, and Marco Ferreri’s 1960 The Little Coach (El cochecito), about a retiree willing to do anything, even do away with his family, in order to get himself a mobility scooter like those owned by his elderly cronies at the park.

Other must-sees include filmmaking duo La Cuadrilla’s 1994 Justino: A Senior Citizen Killer (Justino, un asesino de la tercera edad), about a retired puntillero (the man who finishes off the dying bull in the bullfighting ring with a stab in the neck), who begins a new career as a serial murderer; Álex de la Iglesia’s 2010 The Last Circus (Balada triste de trompeta), in which a young trapeze artist who finds herself the object of desire of two deeply disturbed clowns; and Isaki Lacuesta’s 2014 Dying Beyond Their Means (Murieron por encima de sus posibilidades), in which five desperate, common citizens concoct a crazy plan to save their country’s economy by kidnapping the chairman of the Central Bank and demanding that he somehow restore everything to the way it used to be.

The Last Laugh films and schedule:

20 Centimeters / 20 centímetros

  • On Thursday, December 18 at 4:15 pm.
  • Ramón Salazar, Spain, 2005, 35mm, 112 minutes. In Spanish with English subtitles.

Amanece, que no es poco

  • On Friday, December 12 at 6:15 pm. Q&A with José Luis Cuerda.
  • José Luis Cuerda, Spain, 1989, 35mm, 106 minutes. In Spanish with English subtitles.

Astronauts / Astronautas

  • On Wednesday, December 17 at 6:30 pm.
  • Santi Amodeo, Spain, 2003, 35mm, 88 minutes. In Spanish with subtitles in English.
  • Screening with: Holy Thriller, María Cañas, Spain, 2011, digital projection, 2 minutes.

Caution to the Wind / Con el culo al aire

  • On Sunday, December 14 at 1:00 pm.
  • Carles Mira, Spain, 1980, 35mm, 94 minutes. In Spanish with English subtitles.
  • Screening with Meeting with Sarah Jessica, Vicente Villanueva, Spain, 2013, DCP, 20 minutes. In Spanish with English subtitles.

The Certificate / El certificado

  • On Wednesday, December 17 at 8:30 pm.
  • Vicente Lluch, Spain, 1969, DCP, 100 minutes. In Spanish with English subtitles.

Dying Beyond Their Means / Murieron por encima de sus posibilidades

  • On Sunday, December 14 at 8:40 pm. Q&A with Isaki Lacuesta.
  • Isaki Lacuesta, Spain, 2014, DCP, 104 minutes. In Spanish with English subtitles.

Justino: A Senior Citizen Killer / Justino, un asesino de la tercera edad

  • On Saturday, December 13 at 6:45 pm. Q&A with Santiago Aguilar.
  • La Cuadrilla (Santiago Aguilar and Luis Guridi), Spain, 1994, 35mm, 93 minutes. In Spanish with English subtitles.

The Last Circus / Balada triste de trompeta

  • On Thursday, December 18 at 6:45 pm.
  • Álex de la Iglesia, Spain, 2010, 35mm, 107 minutes. In Spanish with English subtitles.

The Last Horse / El último caballo

  • On Friday, December 12 at 9:00 pm.
  • Edgar Neville, Spain, 1950, 35mm, 85 minutes. In Spanish with English subtitles.
  • Screening with Mystery / Misterio, Chema García Ibarra, Spain, 2013, DCP, 12 minutes. In Spanish with English subtitles.

The Little Coach / El cochecito

  • On Saturday, December 13 at 9:15 pm.
  • Marco Ferreri, Spain, 1960, 35mm, 83 minutes. In Spanish with English subtitles.
  • Screening with El engaño / The Cheating, Germán Scelso, Spain, 2009, digital projection, 15 minutes. In Spanish with English subtitles.

Mommy’s a Fool / Mamá es boba

  • On Monday, December 15 at 6:30 pm.
  • Santiago Lorenzo, Spain, 1997, 35mm, 96 minutes. In Spanish with English subtitles.

Not on Your Life / El verdugo

  • On Sunday, December 14 at 3:30 pm.
  • Luis García Berlanga, Spain, 1963, 35mm, 89 minutes. In Spanish with English subtitles.
  • Screening with Don Pepe Popi, Carlos Vermut, Spain, 2012, digital projection, 16 minutes. In Spanish with English subtitles.

People in Places / Gente en sitios

  • On Thursday, December 18 at 9:00 pm.
  • Juan Cavestany, Spain, 2013, DCP, 83 minutes. In Spanish with English subtitles.

Tell Me About Sanchicorrota / Dime quién era Sanchicorrota

  • On Sunday, December 14 at 5:45 pm. Q&A with Óscar Pérez.
  • Jorge Tur, Spain, 2013, HDCAM, 62 minutes. In Spanish with English subtitles.
  • Screening with Mr. Easter / Salve Melilla, Óscar Pérez, Spain, 2006, digital projection, 52 minutes. In Spanish with English subtitles.
  • Film
  • New York
  • Fri, December 12 —
    Thu, December 18, 2014

Venue

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Walter Reade Theatre, 165 W 65th St, New York, NY 10023

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The Film Society Lincoln Center

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Organized by The Film Society Lincoln Center

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