- La Verbena de la Paloma
- The fair of the virgin of the dove (1935)La verbena de la Paloma has been regarded not only as the best film adaptation of a zarzuela but also the jewel in the crown of popular Republican cinema and one of the best examples of the Republican version of populism. As in other musicals, the plot revolves around a young man who intends to take his girl to a ball (in this case to celebrate the Madrid Virgin of the Dove) and her attempts to make him jealous (the same motif appears, for instance, in Oklahoma!).Well-established traditions were recycled into the new medium and, in tune with the times, the product was meant for working-class audiences; there was no attempt to impose old-fashioned Catholic morality (as in such films as La aldea maldita [ The Cursed Village 1930 ] and Nobleza baturra [ that could be translated as Aragonese Nobility or Rustic Chivalry, 1935 ], both directed by Florián Rey), no redemption through prayer, no divine intervention; working-class characters could be funny without becoming ridiculous caricatures, and their appeal made identification easier. There was a celebration of the small events in their lives, rather than the use of grand gestures and heightened plots, following the costumbrismo approach. Perojo's roving camera moves with amazing agility through streets, façades, among crowds, and around cafés, displaying an energy that is the visual counterpart to the music.La verbena de la Paloma opened to unanimous praise on 23 December 1935 and went on to attract an international audience. Reviewers recognized it as the first masterpiece of Spanish cinema. It also constituted the most original and imaginative blending of music and cinematic resources in the history of the Spanish musical, practically unsurpassed in its ambition until Carlos Saura's work in the genre over the last two decades.
Historical dictionary of Spanish cinema. Alberto Mira. 2010.