Directed by Luis García Berlanga • 1953 • Spain
Starring Lolita Sevilla, Manolo Morán, José Isbert
A distant land shrouded in myth and rumor, America looms large in the cultural imagination of a quiet Castilian village, whose impressionable inhabitants dream of benefitting from the country’s postwar plans to aid Europe. When word gets out that a delegation of U.S. diplomats plans to pay a visit, the townsfolk of Villar del Río waste no time in erecting a fantasy worthy of Uncle Sam’s favor, transforming their austere surroundings into a tourist-friendly vision of Andalusian kitsch. With a sly irreverence that led Cannes juror Edward G. Robinson to declare it un-American, Luis García Berlanga’s international breakthrough lampoons the smoke and mirrors that shape national identities from both within and without.