La vaquilla


The Heifer

Two years after the beginning of the Spanish Civil War, the bored soldiers from both sides who are in the battlefield in Aragón exchange tobacco and cigarette paper, while they think of a way to demoralize the enemy. That apparent peacefulness is interrupted when the loudspeaker from the national side announces that there will be a “novillada” (with young bulls and novice bullfighters), followed by a banquet and dancing, as part of the local fiestas of a small nearby town. This announcement provokes discouragement on the Republican side, so the sergeant major Castro has an idea to annoy the Nationals and raise his soldiers’ spirits.

The plan consists of boycotting the “encierro”(running of the bulls), stealing the heifer and offering it to feed the regiment. To carry out the plan, he has help from three soldiers, an ex-sacristan, a bullfighter called Limeño, and Mariano, who was born in that town and knows the place and its inhabitants very well. He also has help from lieutenant Brosetas who, on learning about the plan, not only agrees with it but also wants to take part in it. However, things don’t work out as planned due to a series of unforeseeable events. The so-called bullfighter doesn’t really have the courage to approach the animal. So, the small group of invaders is suddenly forced to mix with the enemy and get involved in a series of crazy, risky situations in a town celebrating its local fiestas before they can cross the line of fire at dusk.

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