Death of a cyclist


Spanish cinema under Franco was a sterile industry , kept under strict government control. Bardem was one of the few brave film-makers to question the psychological and political oppression of the day. At the time of his Cannes award, Bardem was serving a prison sentence for his political beliefs,until international outcry led to his release from prison. Bardem was arrested a total number of seven times under Franco. Back then Bardem condemned Spanish cinema as “politically useless, socially dishonest, intellectually void, aesthetically hideous and industrially decrepit”. A couple travelling through the countryside strike a man on a bicycle.  When they get out of their car ,they find out that he is injured but not dead. Juan (Alberto Closas) and Maria Jose (Lucia Bosé) decide to flee instead of helping the man. Maria Jose is less bothered by the moral implications of killing a man. Her wealthy industrialist husband Miguel (Otello Toso) is unaware of his wife’s affair. Matters become even more complicated when the couple discover a member of their social circle,Rafa (Carlos Casaravilla), may know something about their affair.
Juan Antonio Bardem’s charged melodrama Death of a Cyclist was a direct attack on 1950s Spanish society under Franco’s rule. He shows a Spanish society where people like Juan and Maria Jose operate above the law.


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