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Belle Epoque

Provincial Spain, 1931. Elderly artist Manolo (Gómez) shelters a young deserter from the royalist army. Fernando (Sanz) is happy to accept, especially when he sets eyes on Manolo's four daughters. To his surprise, the bugle boy is seduced by each in turn, but even in this rural backwater the etiquette of love is more sophisticated than he appreciates. Trueba's rich, sunny film harks back to the sort of pastoral idyll that only exists in romances. Despite the conventional farce structure, it's never quite the straight male fantasy you might imagine. There's a marvellous cameo by Mary Carmen Ramírez as Manolo's operatically inclined wife; but all the women are marvellous. Somehow the film's wistful and ironic leanings are embodied in Gómez's bemused patriarch: a self-confessed libertine who can only make love to his wife. Ultimately the movie's too flirtatious to be for real - but you might indulge yourself this once.

Release details

Duration: 110 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Fernando Trueba
Screenwriter: Rafael Azcona, Fernando Trueba, José Luis Garcia Sanchez
Cast: Fernando Fernán Gómez
Jorge Sanz
Maribel Verdú
Ariadna Gil
Miriam Díaz-Aroca
Mary Carmen Ramírez
Penelope Cruz
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