La Comunidad


Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

La Comunidad
"Although hardly enjoyable, his films are never dull."

The darker the comedy, the more grotesque, it seems. This is closer to Ealing Studios than Jeunet and Caro (Delicatessen), although, being Spanish, there is a vein of cruelty running through it.

Estate agent Julia (Carmen Maura) is sent to sell a luxury furnished apartment, complete with tan leather sofa and queen-sized waterbed, in what appears to be a rundown old building. Without further ado, she moves in, without telling the office, and through a series of mishaps, such as a flood leaking through her ceiling and the discovery of a long dead corpse upstairs among piles of bagged rubbish, she finds a fortune in banknotes under the chequered tiles in what was once a kitchen.

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What she has not realised yet is that everyone in the building knows about the money and has been waiting years for the man to die so they can get their greedy hands on it. Somehow, she has to sneak the cash out, without her neighbours noticing. This proves increasingly complicated and she finds herself under siege. As things turn nasty and people begin to die, an element of farce is introduced.

Maura hams it up outrageously and the neighbours are almost too weird to be believable. Credibility is hardly the worry, however, because this is a comedy and if it wasn't, Julia would have had no difficulty slipping the money out under the prying eyes of these human cockroaches. If the PoWs in [film]The Wooden Horse[/film[ can dispose of sand down their trouser legs, Julia would certainly have found a way.

Alex de la Iglesia is a director who dabbles in the macabre (Day Of The Beast) and sexual violence (Perdita Durango), always to an extreme. Although hardly enjoyable, his films are never dull. La Comunidad is a chamber piece, not as clever as it should be, nor as funny, but intriguing for the twists in the plot and the ever more frantic behaviour that leads to a dramatic rooftop finale.

Reviewed on: 03 Jul 2003
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Macabre comedy sees a woman trying to smuggle cash out of a house, from under the noses of her weirdo neighbours.
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Director: Álex de la Iglesia

Writer: Jorge Guerricaechevarria, Álex de la Iglesia

Starring: Carmen Maura, Eduardo Anmtuna, Maria Asquerino, Jesus Bonilla, Marta Fernandez Muro, Paca Gabaldon, Ane Gabarain, Sancho Gracia

Year: 2000

Runtime: 106 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: Spain


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