Belle Epoque

Spain, 1992,109 min, Digital, Dir. Fernando Trueba, Rated R


The belle époque of the film’s title is, for Fernando (Jorge Sanz), the idyllic respite between the end of the Spanish monarchy and the beginning of the Civil War. The young army deserter finds refuge, first in the home of a freethinker (Fernando Fernán Gómez), then in the arms of his four very different daughters (Penelope Cruz, Maribel Verdú, Ariadna Gil and Miriam Díaz Aroca). The film, a masterpiece of ensemble acting, is replete with stunning set pieces. The masked ball, for instance, is a triumph of sexual ambiguity. But when the girls’ mother makes her entrance, the film literally bursts into song. With Belle Epoque, Fernando Trueba made one for the ages, hands down, one of the greatest Spanish films of all time. In its day, it won 9 Spanish Academy Awards (Goyas) and the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film.