In this section you can search all our contents throughout the different stages in the history of art in Spain, to find styles such as Baroque, Gothic, Mudejar and many, many more. In this section you can search among all our contents by topic to find the different resources available in Spain, such as museums, routes, destinations, monuments and many, many more. This section provides access to all the contents in a personalised way, according to your own particular interests and socio-demographic profile. The work portrays a company with a variety show production, made up of Carmela, Paulino and Gustavete, which travels up and down Spain with its wagon and crosses the front without realising it from the Republican to the Franco side. When they are surprised by the Franco troops they have to improvise a theatrical performance in honour of the fascist army, which ends in tragedy. The author takes us to a confused space dominated by fear and aggression.

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These entertainers, purveying what they optimistically call "Tip-Top Variety," are motivated by patriotism and a desire for self-preservation, though not in that order.

When Carmela appears in a white toga as a symbol of the Republic, she is taking no more fervent or personal a stand than her husband does in prompting the troops to laughter by making comically rude noises. Carmela and Paulino are partisans in principle, but in fact they live mostly to entertain. Carlos Saura's "Ay, Carmela! Saura's new film, which opens today at the Lincoln Plaza Cinemas, tells of theatrical performers trying to maintain their independent spirit while also placating Fascist supervisors, in this case an Italian lieutenant Maurizio di Razza with show-business pretensions and a soft spot for Carmela's wiles.

Carmela's matronly loyalty to her husband does not mean she will stop short of much in trying to advance their cause. Miss Maura, known in the United States for her films with Pedro Almodovar whose "Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown" was conceived with her in mind , gives a warm, substantial and much less giddy performance this time.

A generosity of spirit colors her every gesture. Not having lost her comic touch, Miss Maura is also capable of flouncing ludicrously as she struggles with the huge, impossible train of a flamenco gown, or of wiping her mouth daintily on the back of her hand after a hearty meal.

The strength and sympathy that Miss Maura embodies make Carmela a force to be reckoned with and "Ay, Carmela! Once Paulino, Carmela and Gustavete have been captured by Nationalist forces, they are forced into fancier footwork than anything they ever attempted on a stage.

Later, they try to persuade an Italian officer that a Republican flag in their possession is something they use while performing "O Sole Mio. But a fellow captive assures Carmela, "Don't worry, Ma'am -- we who are innocent need not fear. The film's demonstrable evidence that his words are untrue gives its lighthearted moments an underlying sobriety.

From the opening theater scene, during which a ragtag performance by the variety troupe is periodically halted so that the audience can listen fearfully for war planes overhead, "Ay, Carmela! The ability of the principal characters to overlook much of what is going on around them only heightens this foreboding, but Mr. Saura occasionally slips into enough sentimentality to eclipse his film's somber side.

Carmela's eagerness for a church wedding to Paulino, to whom she has been married only by civil ceremony, adds more poignancy than the story otherwise needs. Although Miss Maura takes center stage at all times, she does so thanks to indomitable vitality rather than through the efforts of Rafael Azcona who also wrote Mr. Saura's "Cousin Anjelica," and who adapted this screenplay from a play by Jose Sanchis Sinisterra. Pajares, as the buffoonish Paulino, makes a good foil but is inevitably secondary to his commanding co-star.

Diego, who says nothing and appears always to be wincing in fear of Carmela's next ploy, manages to be both funny and heartbreaking. Ay, Carmela! Running time: minutes. This film has no rating. Carmen Maura Paulino. Andres Pajares Gustavete. Gabino Diego Lieutenant Ripamonte. Maurizio di Razza Interrogating Lieutenant. Miguel A. View on timesmachine. TimesMachine is an exclusive benefit for home delivery and digital subscribers. To preserve these articles as they originally appeared, The Times does not alter, edit or update them.

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MOVIE REVIEW : Saura’s ‘Ay, Carmela!’: A Slight but Touching Comedy

Only the sound of German planes overhead brings a deadly pause to the proceedings in this makeshift theater. Saura keeps the tones of the settings muted, reflective, full of mists. Carmela is earthy and practical, good-hearted to the point of sentimentality--and beyond. Although she and husband Paulino are on the side of the partisans, one picks up the sense that they may not be the most deeply committed Spaniards ever born. She turns an almost anecdotal film memorable. Andres Pajares is droll and suitably slippery as Paulino, who almost made it to the priesthood but, instead, found true love and a theatrical soul-mate in Carmela.


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Email address:. Unfortunately, however, under the ponderous direction of Alberto Arvelo those first few expository minutes are stretched into nearly two hours of tedious dialogue. This two-person play plus a brief wordless cameo by a Spanish soldier introduces Paulino and Carmela, a traveling vaudeville team that has inadvertently wandered into enemy territory and been captured. In the first scene we learn that Carmela is dead.

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