Today’s classic film recommendation is Juan Antonio Bardem’s masterful “Death of a Cyclist”, released in the mid 1950’s under the Franco regime. It’s clear that Bardem’s aim was to criticize the huge gap between the poor and the rich, which explains why the movie was censored and Bardem was “forced” to change a key plot point. The simple story follows a rich married woman who is having an affair with a college professor. The movie opens with them driving on an empty road when they accidentally hit a cyclist. Instead of helping the injured man, they decide to drive off in fear that this incident might jeopardize their relationship. And so begins “Death of a Cyclist”, a powerful drama about guilt, paranoia and blackmail. Directed with extraordinary skill by Bardem (who happens to be Javier Bardem’s uncle), the film is a tough road well worth traveling. All the actors amaze, so does Alfredo Fraile’s breathtaking cinematography. “Death of a Cyclist” is emotionally devastating. It takes a piece out of you. If you’re into old European films, consider it a must see.
★★★ Very good