There are films that entertain us and are good; others stimulate us and are better; finally, we find the most scarce and valuable ones: those which move us and make us think, those are the essential ones. In this exclusive category appear the immortal classics by Charles Chaplin. This little big man, of English nationality but universal spirit, developed through his filmography a vigorous defence of the common man, of the humble and marginalized one, symbolized in his genial and extremely famous ‘Little Tramp’, any man in any part of the world that aspires to dignity, in his author’s words.

Quite a lot of generations have had a really good time attending the adventures of the cheerful vagrant, an anonymous individual that wanders endlessly around the marginal neighbourhoods of the city, always hungry and idle, who has an extraordinary capacity to get into troubles and fall madly in love with the first girl that comes into his way. ‘Charlot’ is a character that treats some with the maximum gentleness and good will –especially the ladies- and others with a firmness and courage worthy enough of the bravest warrior. It was created as consequence of people who Chaplin knew in the London slums during his childhood and early youth, which he lived orphan and absolutely poor.

The comicalness of the Little Fellow’s films lies in his childish sight: his naivety before life and his amoral cruelty, peculiar to a child, collide with the brutal reaction of life itself. It is impossible not to remember his movies: The Kid (1921), in which he adopts a little boy abandoned by his mother for not to be able to take care of him and where Chaplin denounced the social misery –what he did in practically all his movies- using the humour –comedy is the most serious study of the world, he said; City Lights (1931) or humour, love and hope in the slums; Modern Times (1936), a lucid and really amusing critic to the mechanization and dehumanization of the industrial society, etc.

But, of course, man does not live by Charlot alone. Chaplin realized a handful of magnificent films without playing his beloved character. Among them I must emphasize The Great Dictator (1940), valiant antifascist picture that ridiculed Mussolini and Hitler –curiously the most loved man in the XX century faced the most hated one, openly making fun of him-, whose final speech figures in its own right among the best moments in film history due to his deeply felt defence of the essential human values, in a moment in which horror threatened the world.

Charles Chaplin was for years reluctant to adopt the sound movies –or talking movies, to be more correct- since he utterly trusted in the beautiful and universal pantomime art and in the communicative, captivating power of images on their own –I mean without words because the music, that actually was used, constituted a fundamental element. His filming style was spartan but not for it less genial. He had an enormous talent to mix humour and drama even within the same scene, as well as a frantic activity that in many occasions led him to direct, star in, write, produce, cut and put music to his movies, and everything with a strong wish of perfectionism that could border on obsession and psychological imbalance, and that definitely made him one of the great geniuses in cinema’s history.

His films inspire confidence on us and reconcile us with the mankind, make us forget our puppets, our tycoons and our laws of the jungle. That’s why I propose to recover them –including his numerous short ones-, really attainable nowadays. Let’s enjoy the humour and sentimental depth of some works that talk about the feelings, adversities and joys of the humans. We shall win very much.
              Emilio Luis Agudo García 

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