- El Extraño Viaje
- The Strange Journey (1964)This was probably the most unusual film of the 1960s made in Spain, and it boasts the most convoluted reception history among Spanish cinema's canonical titles. Although shot in 1964, it never had a proper commercial release, and remained completely out of circulation for seven years, a strange fate for a thriller comedy directed by Fernando Fernán Gómez, one of Spain's most popular actors.Although it could be simply described as a "real life" story of a murder that made the headlines a few years back, on a deeper level it works as a dark portrait of Spanish provincial reality and its rotten core. Scriptwriters Pedro Beltrán and Fernán Gómez reworked the basic rural drama murder plot into a baroque narrative structure. The darker implications of the film are conveyed through unbalanced framings and expressionistic devices, alternating conventions of the thriller, the horror film, the sex farce, and the costumbrismo comedy of manners. A bra held up by a grumpy lingerie seller is the film's first image, and the arrival of freer approaches to sex in conservative and church-dominated rural Spain remains a strong undercurrent in the film, but then moves on to a dark gothic house in which a sinister woman (known by her neighbors as "countess Dracula") lives with her infantile brothers. The action continues to shift between the village and the house.Eventually, the narrative seems to center on the murders of three members of the wealthy family. The older sister is killed by the brother when he learns she is selling off the property, and then he disappears with the other sister only to be found dead shortly after, near a beach. The remaining narrative revolves around the police investigation to solve the murders. For a whole reel, the film appears to have transformed into a fantasy horror genre piece, and audiences are left to wonder whether the older sister has returned from the grave. The solution is the last piece of a puzzle that forms a perfect picture of a small Spanish village experiencing the shock of progress. By the end of the film, an almost terrifying image of the country's subconscious at the time has been perfectly articulated, the murders constituting only the excuse.
Historical dictionary of Spanish cinema. Alberto Mira. 2010.