Synopsis by Gönül Dönmez-Colin
One of the finest filmmakers of Spain, Mario Camus turns his lens to a joyful and sad period of Spanish history in this historical drama about one man's struggle for a better life towards the end of the 18th century. Onofre Bouvila (Olivier Martinez) is a young man who has not had much luck in his short life. His father abandoned the family to make his fortune in Cuba and the boy grew up in misery with his suffering mother. Now grown up, he decides to make it in the big city and arrives in Barcelona on the eve of the Universal Exposition of 1888. He is immediately attracted to his landlord's beautiful daughter, Delfina (Emma Suarez), who has other plans for him. While the city is drowning in poverty and disease, the criminal gangs are having a field day. Onofre's attempts at finding a job fail. He is thrown out of his lodgings for lack of money to pay the rent. Just at that moment, Delfina appears with an answer to the problem. She puts him to work distributing revolutionary pamphlets for her anarchist organization to the workers at the Exposition. The relationship between the two young people soon turns into a passionate one, but a violent encounter with the police brings back unpleasant memories of the domestic misery Onofre left behind. He realizes that politics will not help him in his quest for fortune, which was the reason he came to Barcelona in the first place. The only thing standing in the way of social climber Onofre is his deep love for Delfina, and he is caught between ambition and love. La Ciudad de los Prodigios (The City of Marvels), which is based on Eduardo Mendoza's best-selling novel, was in competition at the 1999 Montreal World Film Festival.
ambition, citizen, city, Cuba, love, power, struggle
High Budget, High Production Values