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Film / Cantinflas

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Cantinflas is a 2014 Mexican film, based on the life and exploits of the Mexican comedian Mario Moreno aka "Cantinflas" (played by Spaniard actor Óscar Jaenada) and showing his humble beginnings to his rise to international stardom.

The film begins when the producer (and future husband of Elizabeth Taylor) Mike Todd (played by Michael Imperioli) tries to bring together the cast for Around the World in 80 Days (1956) and he tries to ask Cantinflas, who was at the top of his career, to participate in the film. He has a few days to do so, otherwise he'll lose all the financial backing and the rights of the film.

While this is happening, most of the film shows the life of Cantinflas from his beginnings, first as a boxer, as a bullfighter and later as a theater comedian and as a movie actor, while finding the love of his life in Russian actress Valentina Ivanova and dealing with his new acquired fame.

This film includes examples of:

  • Anachronic Order: The film begins in the 1950s, and later it jumps to the 1930s, when dealing with Cantinflas' life and returns from time to time to the 50s again when dealing with Mike Todd.
  • Artistic License – History: In the film, Cantinflas is depicted as being as playful in his personal life as he was in his own films. In Real Life, Cantinflas was a very serious and demure person when not in character.
  • Bilingual Dialogue: The movie uses both English and Spanish for American and Mexican characters respectively and Cantinflas himself speaks English too, albeit with a thick accent.
  • Blackface: Cantinflas does a minstrel show this way, but fails big time. He removes the paint later after thinking he could be funnier without paint and also to avoid being recognized.
  • Butt-Monkey: Cantinflas and Estanislao. The former did get better, the latter, did not.
  • Deuteragonist: Both Cantinflas and Mike Todd share similar screen time. In Cantinflas' case, it shows his life, and in Todd's case, it shows how he managed to get Cantinflas in Around the World in 80 Days (1956).
  • Maligned Mixed Marriage: Surprisely averted between Cantinflas (Mexican) and Valentina (Russian), as Valentina's Russian grandfather seems to be OK with the relation, despite the time period.
  • Married to the Job: Cantinflas. It ends up harming his marriage.
  • Meaningful Name: The way Cantinflas got his name; it also overlaps with Insult Backfire: During one theater show, Cantinflas is insulted by a drunkard telling him he's too annoying (in Mexican Spanish, he called him ¡Cuanto inflas!). Due to his slurred speech, and while the same drunkard asked for Mario's name, Mario quickly improvised and used the drunkard's insult as his famous nickname.note 
  • Mood Whiplash: The movie takes a more tragic tone when Cantinflas finds out Valentina is infertile, and later when she decides to get separated from him, as his work takes a toll on their relationship.
  • Lonely at the Top: Oddly enough, not Cantinflas, but his wife Valentina suffers this, and it's Played for Drama, since Cantinflas is more worried for his job than about his personal life.
  • Go Mad from the Revelation: This almost happens with Valentina when she finds she cannot bear children with Cantinflas.
  • Pungeon Master: Cantinflas, just like in Real Life.
  • Rags to Riches: Cantinflas and Valentina.
  • The Resenter: Estanislao, and he is ready to make sure Cantinflas remembers his beginnings, while trashing him verbally in front of everybody else in a party, and pointing out the fact Valentina cannot bear children.
  • Tranquil Fury: After Estanislao humiliates Cantinflas at a party, insulting him and bringing up Valentina's infertility. His Berserk Button pressed,Cantinflas decides to exclude Estanislao from any event with him at the spotlight, without showing any trace of rage in his face. Justified, being a public figure now, he has to now keep his face.
  • "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue: Being a biographical movie, the film shows the fate of many of the people, Cantinflas included, who appear in the film: