Un millón de amigos, dir. Fernando Merinero

Hooray, I’ve finally watched a film that has no rating and no comments on imdb. I shall review it without doing the slightest research, since that was how I viewed it. (Mubi translate the title rather brilliantly as “One Million of Friends”).

This film purports to be a documentary about a Spanish comic, Javier Jurdao, who used to be rich and appeared on TV, but has since given up on the concepts of money and work, spends his life sponging off his friends, and does a weekly stint of stand-up in some bar for free. He expounds his philosophy throughout the film, mostly in conversation with others – a few of the millions of friends who support him (the title appears to be from a quote from Roberto Carlos – I’m presuming, the Brazilian footballer – which, I’m also presuming, was something along the lines of: I’d rather have a million friends than a million euros). There is a lot of talking in this film. In fact, it is all talking. The talking is non-stop. The film merely cuts from one conversation to another relentlessly.

Now, I have no idea who Javier Jurdao is. He might be a famous Spanish comic – this is certainly implied in the film; – he might be entirely made up. I suspect on the whole he is a Spanish comic, but that the events and the philosophy which the film propounds are made up. There is certainly at times a lack of verity in the scenes. Often they are too absurd to be taken seriously.

I’m not surprised the film has made no impact in the English-speaking world. Not merely does it suffer from the usual fate of all foreign-language films; but it is irretrievably Spanish. There is so much cultural reference I just don’t get. On the other hand, when they were talking about the commericialisation of religion and showed some gaudy Christmas decorations outside a cathedral, I thought: those look like the gaudy Christmas they have outside the cathedral in Malaga; then in the next scene, I thought,and  that looks like the main shopping thoroughfare in Malaga, whereupon they kindly pointed out that it was. So I felt at least I wasn’t entirely lost. (Also, throughout the film, the subtitler insisted on translating El Corte Inglés rather vaguely as “a department store”). Also, there is so much talking and it is generally so fast, that you do feel you’re missing quite a lot just reading the subtitles.

Right, now I shall look into matters a bit more.

Hmm, it turns out it was a different Roberto Carlos. As I thought, Javier Jurdao turns out to be some sort of stand-up. Beyond that, I’ve no idea.


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