- (1962)Plácido is one of the undisputed masterpieces by Luis G. Berlanga. The script, co-written by Berlanga and Rafael Azcona (the first in a long series of collaborations), is both complex and witty, funny in its fierce attack on a hypocritical society and sad in its empathy for those who suffer injustice.The plot events take place in a few hours and revolve around a Christmas benefit organized by the society ladies (led by Amelia de la Torre) of a provincial town: every family will have a poor person dining for them on Christmas eve. At the same time, Plácido (Cassen) is in need of a paltry amount of money to pay for the truck he uses for work, the same amount owed to him by the organizers. Plácido's real need contrasts with the false charity of the organizers. The comedy turns pitch black when one of the poor falls mortally ill at the dinner table and has to be married quickly to his life companion to keep him from dying in sin. Plácido is called to take the dead man to his house, so that the corpse does not spoil the celebrations.Berlanga's style is fully formed here: the ensemble cast playing small roles in a network narrative, the long takes that move among characters, taking us seamlessly from one plot to another, reminding audiences that whatever the situation, our lives are unavoidably inter-linked. The film follows, Nashville-like, the stories of about a dozen important characters during the few hours before dawn on Christmas day. Most were played by actors who would go on to develop long careers, most notably José Luis López Vázquez, Agustín González, Amelia de la Torre, Elvira Quintillá, and Luis Ciges, along with the veteran Julia Caba Alba.
Historical dictionary of Spanish cinema. Alberto Mira. 2010.