Saturday 6 June 2009

Review: El Pallasso i el Führer

El Pallasso i el Führer (2007)
directed by Eduard Cortés

I confess to only having seen a little less than an hour of this film. Firstly, I chanced upon it on TV last night, so missed the beginning, and secondly, tedium got the better of me and I switched off before it finished dragging itself towards the end. In my view, that doesn’t disqualify me from reviewing the film, however.

As a clown and a clown historian, I should have been delighted to be contemplating a film based on a historical occurence of Charlie Rivel’s performance for the Fuhrer on his birthday but, alas! no.

First there is the astounding fact that it was broadcast in a dubbed-to-Spanish version, the original being in Catalan. I was watching in Catalonia: why wasn’t it broadcast in the original version? Is it really so hard for the poor Spanish public to do a tiny bit of work and read some subtitles? Not even when the original language is one that is official in the country and not really so difficult to get the gist of even if you don’t know it. And so, as with all dubbed films, the atmosphere evaporates, and in this case a heaviness takes over which is exacerbated by the denseness of the dialogue, a text which never for one second escapes from a turgid literariness.

Ferran Rañé‘s protrayal of Rivel bears some likeness to the man himself in his bearing and manner. He’s obviously watched his appearance in Fellini’s “I Clowns” and done a fair imitation, although that’s as far as it goes and it can’t be called a full characterisation. But when it comes to the scenes where he is called upon to actually perform as a clown, he unfortunately joins the rest of the cast in an embarrassing parody of what actors might think clowns do. A very disappointing film indeed.

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