The Prodigious Life of Father Vincent (1978)

When the period known as the Spanish Transition was in its prime, Spain saw the rise of many film directors who had remained silent during the years of the dictatorship but that had a lot to say in the years coming.

I am not talking about the ones that followed the Ozores line, nor the ones that had already started their filmography years before (Saura, Erice and even Garci) but about the ones that really wanted to make everything explode and didn’t fear the consequences. And when I say this, I am not talking about Eloi de la Iglesia or other directors that under the facade of a so-called cinema-denounce produced violent flicks. No, I am going to the worst of the worst.

One of the most irreverent but also perhaps unknown is Carles Mira. Born in Valencia his cinema is some kind of mixture between Passolini and Fellini, but with a marked Valencian flavor, putting in the center of his filmography his country and its customs.

Today I am going to talk about his first but also the most polemical film: The Prodigious Life of Father Vincent.

Vincent Ferrer is quite probably one of the most respected figures in the Valencian Country to the point that he is also the Patron of the community. Like most historical figures, his miracles and life episodes have been debated for centuries. It’s that kind of figure that becomes big and big thanks to exaggeration but also to the magic popular folklore uses to play on history. Carles Mira needed to say his own word.

Placing Albert Boadella as the center figure in the comedy and with a solid Ovidi Montllor to back him up as his second Miló, Carles Mira starts to depict the whole period around the character, with an apparent naivety that it’s just that: apparent.

Mocking the friars (the banquet scene is genius), making fun of the respect people used to pay to Ferrer (he makes a mother cook their 3 year old son for the grace of Ferrer) or even questioning the good of the figure (making him a killer and also a vicious and vengeful character), Mira destroys every single bit of the Saint’s figure.

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And, of course, in 1978 it was not the right time to do so. The day of the premmiere some extremist group put a bomb in the theater. No victims but no more projections in the Valencian Country.

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