Marcelino pan y vino

Marcelino pan y vino
The miracle of Marcelino (1955)
   One of the first international hits of Spanish cinema (a great success in Italy and other Catholic countries), Ladislao Vajda's Marcelino pan y vino is also, in spite of its sentimentalism and topical aspects, one of the most accomplished Spanish films of the 1950s. It tells the story, narrated as a kind of fairy tale to a bedridden girl, of an orphan brought up by a group of monks. As he grows up, he becomes a happy child who brings joy to his surrogate fathers even as he causes havoc at the monastery and gives them funny nicknames which became very popular in Spain at the time. Still, he has moments of melancholy, when he misses the presence of a mother.
   In the film's second half, he visits an old attic in the monastery and soon engages in a relationship with a wooden image of Jesus Christ on the cross. He brings the suffering man bread and wine, and in exchange, Jesus says he will take Marcelino to his mother. In the last scene, he is discovered dead by the monks.
   Marcelino pan y vino was enriched with a heart-warming performance by child actor Pablito Calvo, who captivated audiences with his rueful smile and big eyes, and started a vogue both for child actors and a new kind of religious films, less heroic than those of the previous generation. It is also a technically astounding film, particularly in terms of cinematography and framing. Vajda uses images pictorially, drawing from Spanish painting traditions and constructing solid images and beautiful camera movements.

Historical dictionary of Spanish cinema. . 2010.

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