Funny enough I also did watch this been curios about this one since Pereira (in our extreme Samora Correia – Alcochete axis film exchanges), the curiosity was increase by the fact that Fajardo was playing a typical Tomas Millian type of part. Well like I haven’t done a proper review in a long time (how I miss my office) decided that this one deserved that consideration from my part.
First of all and starting from the end it’s a not a great film but not a tottaly waste of time either one of those middle of the road films that could have been so much better had the director choose the right path for it.
Some parts of the film are without any doubt influenced by the more revolutionary style of cinema, saying Godard Glauber Rocha etc
The made in 1971 was only possible because it was an International production, if it was a fully Spanish one I’ll doubt the censors allow it, the full storyline is a typical Zapata SW, but some scenes and clearly remind us the political situation of both countries of the Iberian Peninsula, killing landlords tied to posts and talking about land to the campesinos not so normal with so many Spanish actors. In any case I think the major fault of the film is the ambiguity in terms of how the films is presented sometimes you got that avant-guard feeling mixed with a regular action (mostly bad ) action SW, and that is never solved. Also the non Spanish speakers and I do not know how the subs are made, but there’s always something lost in the process) will lost a lot of the film, its pretty talky sometimes and the dialogues are unusually complex for a SW, for instance that part where Malpelo talking with Medina about religion, who is obvious inspired in a dialogue of Ernest Hemingway’s book For whom the bell tolls. My guess is that in the hands of another less documentary habitue and more stylish director (and more means of production also) the film would have gained more coherence and style.
About the acting is clearly that Fajardo really worked hard for the part, but I’m not totally satisfied, pretty uneven in my view I think he sometimes he just fails to grab the part, or maybe I’m just being unfair cause in my subconsciously I’m always thinking is imitating someone, but still he’s very good in the more comical parts, Charo is perfect in her part, and also like the only one credit actor (typical stuff from these left winged productions) George Carvell who has an incredible resemblance with actor Luke Wilson, also goes pretty well.
Mostly the weak parts of the film are his low budget production level, and an uninspired director who made almost two films in one, on the good side the story stands pretty well, and also the Zapata feeling is really pure, which means that the aspect of character development was of less importance to me, its all about collectivism not individuality.
So not a masterpiece not even a 4 stars but an enjoyable to watch SW, that deserved a good DVD edition at least a Spanish one, Suevia for instance got so many chunky paella Westerns in their catalogue, and Fajardo wasn’t the main actor in so many films, this one really deserves a break I’ll buy it for sure.