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Executioner, The

Director:  Luis García Berlanga
Year Released:  1963
Rating:  3.0

Undertaker José Luis (Nino Manfredi) impregnates (and has to marry) Carmen (Emma Penella), the daughter of an retiring executioner (José Isbert) ... and is forced to replace him in that nefarious profession, causing him to go into moral panic. It's bewildering that this was produced in Franco-era Spain (you know, the scumfucks that killed García Lorca) and no one faced repercussions as a result - perhaps it's because, even as a condemnation of bureaucracy and the death penalty, it was made with such a light touch: here's a man forced by fate to do terrible things just to financially support his family (after the first one, he'll get used to it!) ... he hates it, but there's little he can do about it. It reminds me (in a weird way) of my own Dad, who, after getting out of the Marine Corps (... and Vietnam, sigh), took jobs as a garbage collector (!) and cinnamon shoveler (yes, that was a real thing) just to pay the bills for my Mom and newborn ol' me (don't worry, he found a more rewarding career a little later on). Fate can be a funny (and cruel) thing....

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