A Spanish director and also a veteran actor, Gustavo Salmerón has created a portrait of his mother and family members in one of the kookiest documentaries to come along. “Lots of Kids, a Monkey and a Castle” is affectionate but also often very funny given its oddball perspective.
Julita Salmerón, the mother, is quite the character. Constantly pontificating, she is worried about death and asks that when she dies, she should be stuck with a needle to make sure she is indeed gone. She also wants to be buried in a nun’s habit. There is a scene in which she is thus laid out, and we might think it is the real thing until she is stuck with a needle and we see it is just a dress rehearsal.
Julita says that what she wants out of life is the contents of the title. She gets the children. She also gets the monkey, but that turns out to be disastrous. As for the castle, an unexpected inheritance enables one to be bought, with the family luxuriating in it.
But the riches don’t last. An economic downturn that leaves Julita and family strapped dictates the sale of the prized castle. Ensuing scenes of the family trying to sort what to take out of the castle get to be quite funny, as we see everyone lugging away a huge assembly of stuff—some of it extremely heavy—and taking it to the family factory. What occurs after all of the lugging is ironically amusing as well.
Ever lurking is a mystery of what happened to vertebrae remains of a long-deceased relative, with hope of finding them persistent. Guess what? Reiewed December 14, 2018.