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EL LAZARILLO DE TORMES

Spain, 1960 (MIFF 1961, Programme 9)

Director: Cesar Ardavin

Based on a classic by an anonymous author, Lazarc de Tormes' adventurer and misfortunes on the roads of 16th century Castille make up a lively and human story in the mainstream of this Spanish picaresque production. Lazaro was born on the banks of the River Tormes, from which he took his name, and grew up in a busy Salamanca boarding house, run for muleteers who pass through the town. A wandering blind man, practised in the tricks of the roads, offers to teach him his art. After much maltreatment he abandons the blind man to work for a humble sacristan, and later for a poor but arrogant squire. He then joins a travelling theatre company taking part in both performances, and thefts. Shrewdness and tunning are necessary to keep alive — yet these adventures have their counterparts. Justice eventually interferes, and Laiaro finds himself alone between heaven and earth with the opportunity for meditating upon things he had never before considered.

El Lazarillo de Tormes received the firsr prize — The Golden Bear — at the 1960 Berlin Film Festival. Director Cesar Ardavin, a relative newcomer, makes splendid background use of the landscapes and monuments of rbe Castillian plateau, the old streets of Salamanca and Toledo, and the villages which still retain something of their mediaeval atmosphere and which provide a genuine netting for Lazaro's wanderings. Marco Paoleth is engaging, if somewhat mannered, in the leading role, but the adults all contribute stylised performances

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