Winner of numerous awards including an Oscar for best foreign film, Belle Epoque is a sensual, uninhibited comedy starring Penelope Cruz. Set in a sun-drenched Spanish countryside of 1931, the film tells the story of Fernando, a deserter from the war who is befriended and given shelter by an amiable artist. When his hosts four beautiful daughters arrive a classic farce ensues as Fernando is seduced by one amorous sister after the other in this funny, sexy and heart-warming celebration of love and desire.
The outstanding feature of this film is the beautiful photography that seems to be common in French Spanish and Italian films. May be it is the natural lighting. But so too is the rather bland plot. I didn't find the characters engaging. It is not a bad film and I suspect has a rom-com audience in mind.
Set in 1930s Spain the story is told though rose-tinted spectacles. Excellent watching on a cold wet afternoon in the UK if you want to escape to somewhere warm, romantic and comforting. This isn't any sort of accurate portrayal of a Spain torn apart by civil war, but then it isn't meant to be.
I didn't find this film living up its description, and really wonder why it won any awards. My predominant impression was boredom. The subtitled Spanish discussion of republican and other politics was not engaging, the acting was wooden, and I struggled to have even a small smile at any of the antics. I think it just failed to convince. Although set in the 1930's there was little trace of a war, it seemed much more like a holiday camp. There was no impression real feeling, and from the interaction between the characters it seemed they characters were sharing a brain between them. The scenery and cinematography were nothing impressive, and I didn't it sexy, heart-warming or funny. But it did seem long!