Berlanga's Madrid

  • Mapa cultural ilustrado El Madrid de Berlanga (PDF)
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Mapa cultural ilustrado El Madrid de Berlanga (PDF) The Luis García Berlanga (Valencia, 1921; Madrid, 2010) who moved to Madrid in 1947 was a young man with a passion for cinema. Following his experience in the Spanish Civil War and the Blue Division, his naturally joyful character had been tinged by deep pessimism about life and the human condition, a devastating vision of his country and the Spanish temperament, and overwhelming political discontent.

During the years following the war, his family’s money enabled him to live a life of luxury, attended to by his housekeeper, in the Chamberí district. The Madrid Berlanga adored was a capital with a clandestine nightlife, coffee shops and philosophical debates. It was this post-war Madrid that commanded prominence in his film That Happy Couple, a developmentalist Madrid that is featured in The Executioner, a Madrid in the final years of the Franco regime that is depicted in The National Shotgun, and a Madrid during the Spanish transition to democracy that is captured in National Heritage and National III. Today these films are first-hand witnesses to the Madrid that Berlanga breathed and the social, political, cultural, and moral climate of a defeated country. The term “Berlanguian” is reminiscent of a society wrought with despair, which Berlanga depicted with his hallmarks of humour and humanity, and his characteristic bad temper.
 
Many are the places in Madrid named after him, from a street in the neighbourhood of Rivas-Vaciamadrid and a secondary school in Guadalix de la Sierra to a square in Húmera and a cinema in Argüelles. On 13 November 2010, in his house in Somosaguas, Berlanga passed away in his sleep. There are few Spaniards whose legacy will be as long lasting as his.

Luis Alegre (Teruel, 1962). In 2020 he published ¡Hasta siempre, Mister Berlanga!, in collaboration with the illustrator El Marquès.

Download the illustrated cultural map of Madrid in English (1,2 MB)

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Cinema with an extensive cultural programme that includes performing arts, cinema, music and exhibitions. 

José Luis García Berlanga, son of the great Valencian filmmaker, offers Mediterranean recipes, rice dishes, and traditional local cuisine at his restaurant by El Retiro.

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