La Celestina (1996) Long before Shakespeare was revolutionizing English theater, great Spanish playwrights like Fernando de Rojas were writing popular, fully-scripted plays like La Celestina (1499). This international production is based on that play and concerns the tribulations of two star-crossed lovers who must rely on the arch-conniver Celestina to even manage to see one another briefly. However, one after another of them is betrayed in this grandmother of all subsequent tragicomedies of the modern age. The young nobleman Calisto falls in love with Melibea, the daughter of a rich merchant. Calisto's servant Sempronio suggests they get the sorceress Celestina to further the romance. However Calisto's other servant Parmeno is suspicious of Celestina, as he knows about her tricks. After Celestina convinces Melibea of Calisto's love and arranges a brief clandestine meeting between them, Calisto gives Celestina a valuable chain of gold. Both servants are not satisfied with the whores supplied by Celestina and demand more from her, thus setting off a dramatic sequence of events. I enjoyed this period piece sex comedy. Penelope Cruz before her nose job!! Made in 1996 before many of the actors involved became famous, the film 'looks' magical with radiant costumes and sets and spot on music. But the dialogue is clumsy, the English translations even clumsier, and the whole story fails to work its spell on the audience. Instead of a fiery climax the film just sort of fizzles. But it is interesting to see PenÚlope Cruz, Juan Diego Botto, Maribel Verd˙, Jordi MollÓ and Nancho Novo in their early stage of development. This is an escapist period piece that could have been so much better, but even in this state it is entertaining. Most hated this movie. I kind of enjoyed. I watch a lot of Spanish and Mexican movies to practice my Spanish. I think people would enjoy it more if they were familiar with the original written work. Three stars.