Saturday, September 14, 2019

The Executioner (El Verdugo)

The Executioner (El Verdugo) is a 1963 Spanish black comedy film and is widely considered one of the masterpieces of Spanish cinema.
The story starts with an old executioner in Spain in the early 60's approaching retirement age. As his profession is quite rare, he begins to worry about who might take his place when he retires. He has a daughter, but, unfortunately, she seems doomed to perpetual "spinsterhood"; as soon as any prospective groom learns about her dad and her dad's "trade", he runs away from her, scared. 
However, a new character enters: the local undertaker, a young handsome man who has exactly the same problem... No girl wants him given his profession. So, you have the woman whom almost nobody would marry and the man whom almost nobody would marry. Obviously, they are meant for each other and soon get married.
Director Luis García Berlanga won the FIPRESCI Prize at the Venice Film Festival for the film. At that moment, Francoist Spain was under international pressure because of the death sentence for the Communist leader Julián Grimau. The Spanish ambassador to Italy protested the projection of this "Communist" film.
Compulsory viewing for anyone believing that the death penalty should be a legal punishment. 

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