Michel de Assantes is a prestigious French plastic surgeon who, disappointed with life and with serious impotence problems, decides to commit suicide by throwing himself out of the window of his surgery in Paris. However, he changes his mind at the last minute and decides to get on a pilgrim’s bicycle and travel to Timbuktu, whose exotic name seems to hide the secret of happiness.

His journey is interrupted when he has an accident near Calabuch, a small town in the Levante coast (Spanish eastern region), which is as chaotic as the existence he was trying to leave behind. There he meets a series of outrageous characters, among which stand out the sensual and impetuous Trini and the mystic visionary Encarna, two sisters who baptize him symbolically and put him up in their house, trying to help him overcome his hypothetical impotence. Simultaneously with the arrival of the new millennium, Michel lives a series of hilarious situations, shared with the inhabitants of that peculiar Mediterranean town: Trini and Encarna’s vicious brother, a nudist anarchist, a priest convicted of murder, some disobedient immigrants, some corrupted politicians and businessmen…

Production: Anola Films (Madrid) – Calabuch Films (Madrid) – Freedonia Producciones, S.L. (València), with the collaboration of Televisión Española, Canal Plus and Televisió Valenciana.

Director: Luis García Berlanga.

Screenplay: Luis García Berlanga, Jorge Berlanga, Antonio Gómez Rufo and Javier G. Amezua.

Director of Photography: Hans Burmann (Eastmancolor).

Music: Luis Mendo and Bernardo Fuster.

Editor: Iván Aledo.

Art Director: Wolfgang Burmann.

Costume Design: María José Iglesias.

Producers: José Luis Olaizola M., Rafael Díaz-Salgado, Jordi García Candau and José Ferrándiz.

Production Manager: Javier Zulueta.

Assistant Director: Julián Nuñez. Second Assistant Director: Almudena Martín. Continuity: Montserrat Ordorica. Second Photography Unit: Guillermo Molini. Assistant Camera: Pablo Burmann. Second Unit Assistant: Eva Caño. Still photographer: Jordi Monferrer. Production Assistant: Carlos Ferrándiz. Unit Production Managers: Laura López and Nano Montero. Make-up Artist: Almudena Fonseca. Hair Stylist: Martha Marín. Assistant Make-up Artist: Sonia Teruel. Sculptures: Jack Vanarsky. Sound: Julio Recuero. Sound Editing: James Muñoz. Digital Effects: La Luna de Madrid. Production and Postproduction Coordinator: Rosa-Blanca Adrián. Chief Accountant: Bibiana Olaizola. Assistant Editors: Enrique Domínguez and Lourdes Olaizola. Assistant Decorator: Javier Mampaso. Assistant Costume Designer: Lena Mossum. Costume Assistant: Rosario Esteban. Tailor: Alfonso Salcedo. Additional Assistant Make-up Artists: Antonio Simó and Beatriz de Mingo. Additional Assistant Hair Stylist: Pilar Montesinos. Assistant Sound Engineer: Carlos Culebras. Boom Operator: Emilio Ferrando. Second Second Assistant Director: Elena Valverde. Second Production Assistants: Cayetano Olaizola, Ana Pérez Lorente and Manuel Sánchez. Second Assistant Accountant: Manuel Salvadores. Second Assistant cameras: Carlos Mischa Lluch, Rafael Maluenda and Miguel Valcárcel. Security: Ardeshir Kiani. Coordination in Valencia: Ignacio Núñez and Francesc Ferrando. Filming Props: Álvaro Suárez and Tomás Prada. Editing Props: Juan Carlos Yáñez. Head Gaffer: Rafael García Martos. Grip: Ángel Gómez. Gaffers: Enrique Pérez and Alberto Arnal. Trainee Director: Alicia Sánchez, Gemma Santatecla. Production Apprentices: Basilio Cantalapiedra and Ana Cámara. Apprentice Camera: Miguel Pérez. Foley Operator: Manuel Carrión. Sound Mixers: Alfonso Pino, Alfonso Raposo and Jaime Fernández. Music Recording Studios: Estudios Track and M-20 Estudios. Music Recording Technicians: Francisco Gude, Óscar Herrador and Luca Petrica. Editing: El Igloo P.C., S.L. Soundtrack: Exa. Digital Sound Postproduction: Filmigramas. Laboratory: Fotofilm Madrid, S.A. Blank Material: Kodak. Camera and Peewee: Hans Burmann. Lighting Material: Cine-tel. Grip and Crane Material: Cinegrip. Transport and Power Generator: Ángel Megino. Special Effects: FX Efectos Especiales. Stunts: Escuela de especialistas Ángel Plana. Props: Hijos de Jesús Mateos, Mengíbar and Vázquez Hermanos. Catering: LDC Catering. Labour Consultancy: Legiscine. Product Placement: Cinemarca and Prosolution. Promotion Coordinator: Pilar Morillo. Insurance Group: Caser. Making-off: Guillermo Molini. Extras: ADM Management. Songs: “A ninguna parte” (Luis Mendo and Bernardo Fuster / sung by Manolo Tena), “Cambalache” (E. Santos Descepolo and Juan Ortiz de Mendivil e Ibarra / sung by Luis Eduardo Aute) and “Los loritos” (music by Luis Mendo and Bernardo Fuster, lyrics by Jorge Berlanga and Javier Amezua / sung by Javier Gurruchaga, Concha Velasco and Amparo Soler Leal). Acknowledgements: Costa Azahar-Diputación Provincial de Castellón (Regional Council of Castellón) and Peñíscola Town Council and inhabitants. With the collaboration of the Generalitat Valenciana and the Ciudad de las Artes y de las Ciencias of Valencia.


Michel Piccoli (Michel), Concha Velasco (Trini), Amparo Soler Leal (Encarna), Juan Diego (Boronat), Eusebio Lázaro (Vicente), Javier Gurruchaga (Gaby), Santiago Segura (priest), Fedra Lorente (Benilde), Manuel Alexandre (Sento), Guillermo Montesinos (Planas), Enrique San Francisco (lawyer), José Sancho (Artemio), Mabel Lozano (nurse), Cristina Collado (mayoress), Pilar Ortega (Olga), Alexis Valdés (Dani), Joaquín Climent (Planelles), Mapi Galán (Nicole), Luis Ciges (Federico Baamonde), José María Sacristán (Tourism councillor), Josu Ormaetxe (Mr. Peñarrocha), Rossana Yanni (Madame Suzy), Antonio Resines (cyclist), Paco Catalá (lorry driver), Manuel Millán (agent Piñango), Pilar Punzano (Zou Zou), Jorge Sanz (lieutenant), Vivi Alba (hostess), Vicente Amaya (refrigerated lorry driver), Manuel Bretón (new client), Pilar Camón (nudist mother), Gaspar Cano (lurker #2), Livious Dube (Osaska), Gus Epam (black man), Karola Escarola (Nieves), Sofia Evans (Czech nudist), Pablo Garaizabal (specialist), Concha García Conde (kiosk woman), Fernando Granell (lurker #1), Malena Gutiérrez (Conchi), María Lidón (young woman), José María Lorenzo (sergeant), Miguel Monrabal (photographer), Javier Pérez (soldier), Carlos Pons (corporal Torralba), Silvia Ramírez (Andrea), Jacobo Royo (agent Mínguez), Salomón San Juan (operator), Julio Silva (King’s double).


Goya for best supporting actor (Juan Diego).

Filming Location

Valencia and Peñíscola (Castellón).

More information

Release Date: 10 September 1999.

Year of production


Year of release in Spain