El Ministerio del Tiempo 3×07 Review: Time of Censorship

Some characters in history seem to be more prone to needing help than others, or at least more prone to meeting our team at different points in their lives, even if they don’t remember it.

On this occasion, said character is Luis Buñuel, who last met the team when Alonso punched him (deservedly) in the face. But let’s recapitulate.

(Suggestion: before you read this, play the ‘Estando Contigo’ video I embedded below, and have it as background music)

We begin with a flashback of Irene’s life in 1960. Her abusive husband doesn’t want her to uncover a case of corruption in the ministry where he works, because that would affect his potential promotions. A despaired, closeted Irene almost killed herself shortly afterwards, but as we know, she ended up in the present day and all is well.

But know she needs to travel to 1961 with Alonso and Pacino. Why? Because the future of Spanish cinema is at stake! In 1961, Buñuel had returned from exile and made the movie Viridiana, which would go on to win the Palme d’Or at Cannes. Problem is, one of the censors has rejected it completely, for unknown reasons, so the team has to go and make sure the film is approved.

So, passing as descendants from exiled Spaniards in the US, Pacino, Alonso and Irene pretend to be producers working for David O. Selznick, interested in creating film studios in Spain to make a little film called Star Wars (Pacino’s idea because he won’t use the script of The Greatest Story Ever Told) if they agree to approve Viridiana. The team gets their second screening, but only if they convince Buñuel to cut a few scenes, so they agree to do it at a party in the house of Luis Miguel Dominguín.

It is after this that Irene runs into her husband, and the men tell her to go and sort her stuff out while they solve the mission. When she meets her parents, she finds out they told everyone she’d been confined to a sanatorium, and her mother doesn’t believe her story about trying to stop a corruption case.

The men do meet Pitaluga, the censor who refused to approve Viridiana. It looks as if Pitaluga is quite poor and some mystery man (who is clearly from The Exterminating Angel) paid him off to oppose Buñuel’s movie. But Pacino has an idea and asks Angustias for help: she will tell him the results of a football pool, which he gives to Pitaluga in exchange for approving the film. Easy.

Before Dominguín’s party, Pacino takes Alonso to his old neighbourhood. It is here he meets his younger self, and sees his aunt and uncle again. At the party, Buñuel agrees to remove the scenes, but confesses to Alonso that they will then add them again before taking the movie to Cannes. This angers Alonso, who now considers the film blasphemous -this angry version of Alonso looks familiar to Buñuel…

Back in 2017, Salvador summons Lucía, Lola’s assistant, because her phone number was one of the last calls made by the guy who tried to kill the Englishmen. Turns out, Lucía gave Lola’s copy of the Book of Doors to this SoP member, who in turn, as we now know, gave it to The Exterminating Angel, so now everyone time travels freely. Lucía agrees to give back the copy, but not before revealing she is Lola’s daughter and having a sad meeting with Young Lola.

Anyhow, let’s return to 1961. A now rich Pitaluga agrees to approve the newly edited Viridiana, but there is a new problem: Mario, Irene’s husband, has decided to not give Viridiana an export permit, so the film will need to be smuggled out of the country. But! The cut scenes are missing! There weren’t many, but Buñuel won’t show his film without them, especially the famous dinner scene made of homeless people. To solve this problem, Pacino brings in his aunt and uncle and many other strange characters from his neighbourhood, and problem solved. And he and Alonso will smuggle the film together with Dominguín’s men, pretending to go to a bullfight in France.

The last loose end is Irene, who went to meet her husband to sign some papers and ended up being taken to a mental institution by force. Luckily, she had called Pacino, who heard the whole thing, and Ernesto was sent to save her. But there was no need, because her dad, proud of her daughter for trying to uncover a corruption case, has already gone and released her. He even puts a photo of her back in his living room, where she belongs.

And in the last shot, Buñuel is sleeping placidly. Suddenly, a memory comes back to him. Alonso, punching him during a theatre rehearsal. It was him! He remembers.

 

 

If you need us, whistle

-Proof that smoking is the worst: Alonso hates it.

-The actor who plays Irene’s husband is known in Spain as a comedy actor, so it was odd to see him play such an awful character.

-Miguel Ángel Jenner, here portraying Irene’s father, is the father in real life of Michelle Jenner (Isabel). He is also an established voice actor -he is the Spanish voice of Samuel L. Jackson.

-“They don’t want us abroad. Or haven’t you seen Eurovision? Conchita Bautista killed it with ‘Estando Contigo‘ and she came in ninth!”

-“Those Jedi, why do they have to look so dirty, so ragged? They look like maquis.”

-“If Darth Vader could have a Russian accent…”

-“If Viridiana doesn’t go to Cannes, Mr Fresnick doesn’t come to Spain.” “Selznick.” “What did I say?” “Fresnick…”

-“Give me a second screening of Viridiana and I will put the Jedi in priest robes.”

-“I joined the Blue Division to clear my family’s name. Whoever says Burgos is cold hasn’t been to Russia. There, you start peeing and instead of a stream, stalactites come out.”

-Forgot to mention! Pere Folch dies, but of a heart attack.

-Nice joke when Irene meets her parents. Her mum says that she has been punished for her sins because, even though it’s only been a year since they last saw her, it looks as if Irene has aged a decade – which she has.

-“That kid is me.” “That year you must have eaten all the meat from the slaughtering season.”

-“I should go out more… or watch TV shows, I’ve been told you learn a lot that way.”

-The kid at the party, the one Pacino says should become a singer, is Luis Miguel Dominguín’s son, Miguel Bosé.

-“We have to keep fighting, for freedom and cinema.” “Sure, cinema, cinema, but what I want is to release Viridiana f**ing already!”

-One has to love Alonso’s excitement when he hears someone is called Alatriste -albeit, not the Alatriste he knows.

-“Viridiana is blasphemous! I didn’t give my all in Flanders defending the true religion only to end up collaborating with the devil itself. I declare myself a conscientious objector.” “Do you even know what that means?” “Yep, Julián explained that to me.”

-Luis Buñuel thinks a better title for Star Wars would be The Milky Way.

-Pitalunga after the second screening “My legs are shaking, I just saw the pinnacle of Spanish cinema. The glorious anvil on which the defense of our humble faith is forged.” “They only changed like a couple of things…”

-“Who is this?” “The guy who is going to break your f*ing head open.”

-“Ernesto is going to handle the Irene situation.” “Oh, I really wanted to smash that guy’s head in.” “Ahh, you can’t always get what you want. Look at me, here I am, saving a movie I’d rather burn at the stake.”

-“I’m Melon Boy. You need to pick a bullfighter nickname.” “I am the Tercio, Tercierito of Flanders.”

 

Categories: Spanish Historical Fiction, Television | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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