A note on Alex de la Iglesia

I’ve been momentarily distracted from Fassbinder and in the midst of an Alex de la Iglesia mini-binge. There’s a view in Spain that he’s somehow a great filmmaker who’s never made a great film, a contradiction if there is one, but nonetheless plausible, if, in my estimation, wrong. I thought Day of the Beast/ El día de la Bestia (1995) and Common Wealth/ La Comunidad (2000)were great and recent viewings have not changed my view. Muertos de risa (1999) and The Ferpect Crime /El Crimen Ferpecto (2005) have risen in my estimation from my first viewing; 800 Bullets/ 800 balas (2002) is a film every lover of Spaghetti Westerns should see; As Luck Would Have It/ La chispa de la vida (2011) is a kind of remake of Billy Wilder’s Ace in the Hole (1951), and I thought it brilliant except for a sentimental and righteous ending that would have made Wilder gag. I loved Elijah Woods in The Oxford Murders (2008) and Terele Pávez and Carmen Maura in Witching and Bitching/ Lasa brujas de Zurramagurdi (2013). Mutant Action/ Acción Mutante (1993), with all its imperfections and more than a tinge of misogyny is a splashy announcement of a new sensibility in Spanish cinema (one introduced by Almodóvar). As to Perdita Durango (1997)? Bardem is great; and it’s made from the same source material as Lynch’s Wild at Heart (1990)…and it’s got a fantastic homage to Burt Lancaster. But…


José Arroyo

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