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Muertos de Risa

Dying of Laughter

The bad boy of contemporary Spanish cinema, director Alex de la Iglesia (Perdita Durango, The Day of the Beast, Acci’n mutante) has come up with a dark, slapstick satire about a comic duo whose growing hate for each other leads to ever greater success. In the early 1970s, Nino (Santiago Segura, star of the hugely popular Torrente, The Dumb Arm of the Law) is a nightclub singer whose career is going nowhere, and Bruno (TV comedian El Gran Wyoming) is a comic who isn’t doing any better. Talent agent Julian (Alex Angulo) teams them up for a sketch on a popular TV show, and when Nino is suddenly stricken with stage fright and can’t speak, Bruno impulsively slaps him. The audience finds this hilarious, and Nino and Bruno’s career as a duo is off and running, while their personal relationship starts at a low point and keeps getting worse. Over time, Bruno steals Nino’s girlfriend, Nino gets arrested for dealing drugs, the act periodically breaks up and reunites, and in the midst of a New Year’s Eve broadcast in 1992 the two exchange gunfire on live television. A huge hit on its release in Spain, Dying of Laughter’s attraction lies in its sometimes vicious humour, its kitsch period detail, and especially the crazed performances of its central duo.
Spain, 1999.
English subtitles.
Colour.
Dolby digital stereo.
105 mins

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