CINEMA: A Moment in the Sun

Spain's Belle Epoque evokes the spirit of a halcyon time

It begins with two policemen falling into a comic argument over whether to let their prisoner, an army deserter, escape. The quarrel leads to one of them killing the other and then committing suicide. It climaxes with a priest -- a worldly and genial man -- hanging himself in his church. He has fallen into despair after too profound an exposure to the antireligious writings of the poet-philosopher Miguel de Unamuno.

Between these two events, the young deserter, Fernando (the wide-eyed Jorge Sanz), having been given shelter by a retired painter and full-time ironist (superbly played by Fernando Fernan Gomez), seduces,...

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