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THE MURDERER OF PEDRALBES

Spain, 1978 (MIFF 1979)

Director: Gonzalo Herralde

One morning in 1974, the butchered bodies of an upperclass couple were found in the bedroom of their house in Barcelona. Jose Luis Cerveto, their one-time chauffeur and butler, when questioned next day, confessed everything. He was condemned to death, but his sentence was commuted to thirty years of gaol.

Gonzalo Herralde interviewed Cerveto at length and found the prisoner bafflingly articulate and intelligent. His story emerged: a childhood in an orphanage; his sexual attraction to the other boys, a propensity that got him into trouble again and again as he grew older. A loner, he drifted from job to job until he was engaged as a handyman by the wealthy couple he murdered.

The film touches on many themes: homosexuality, the motivations for crime, social injustice, a critique of the prison system, and — especially — the questionable usefulness of institutionalised psychiatry.

Jury Prize, Cartagena.

Gonzalo Herralde

Born: 1949. Studied drama and cinema. Formed his own production company in 1974.

Features: Death of a Scorpion (1975), Race, The Spirit of Franco (1977), The Murderer of Pedralbes (1978).

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