The Queen of Spain
La reina de España
Panorama | Contemporary World Cinema
Thinking of all the sexy, vivacious, liberating movies that Spain produces, it’s hard to imagine how Franco kept a lid on the country for so long. This sly film takes place during the dictator’s rule and has great fun sending him up, while also directing its satire at Hollywood’s Golden Age. It’s a historical comedy, set during the 50s and featuring Penélope Cruz as Macarena Granada, a Spanish actress cum Hollywood star who’s back in her native country to shoot a picture. Invited by Franco himself, the studios are collaborating with the Spanish industry on a movie about the country’s royalty. Granada winds up a participant in a plot to spring ex-lover Blas Fontiveros (Antonio Resines) from government custody and get him out of the country.
The behind-the-scenes farce is a time-honoured tradition, and writer-director Fernando Trueba, with his self-conscious wit and old-fashioned sense of showmanship, is just the right filmmaker to fulfill it. This is a delight from first moment to last—a mixture of affectionate and not-so-affectionate satire that hits its targets dead centre. Cruz is a delight, and Cary Elwes, Clive Revill and Mandy Pantinkin all do wonderful turns as her American colleagues.
"Cruz carries the film. She has a ridiculous kind of heroism, and her disguises are hilarious…"—Peter Bradshaw, Guardian