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Land Without Bread (1933)
"Las Hurdes" (original title)

7.6
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Ratings: 7.6/10 from 3,383 users  
Reviews: 28 user | 12 critic

A surrealistic documentary portrait of the region of Las Hurdes, a remote region of Spain where civilisation has barely developed, showing how the local peasants try to survive without even the most basic utilities and skills.

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Title: Land Without Bread (1933)

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Cast

Credited cast:
Abel Jacquin ...
(voice)
Alexandre O'Neill ...
(voice)
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Storyline

The region of Las Hurdes, not far from Salamanca, is largely cut off from the rest of the world. To reach Las Hurdes, it is necessary to travel through the town of La Alberca, which itself has some unusual sights and customs. The Hurdanos themselves live in several dozen villages in the nearby mountains, near a valley that contains the ruins of a convent. The lifestyle of the Hurdanos is so primitive that, until fairly recently, even bread was unknown to them. Written by Snow Leopard

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

spain | food | village | river | beehive | See All (52) »

Genres:

Documentary | Short

Certificate:

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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

December 1933 (Spain)  »

Also Known As:

As Hurdes: Terra Sem Pão  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Luis Buñuel was not above slaughtering several animals to deliver his message; he ordered the ailing donkey to be spread with honey so he could film it being stung to death by bees. Nor was the mountain goat falling off the mountain an accident, shot by Buñuel's crew for the desired sequence. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Nine Letters to Bertha (1966) See more »

Soundtracks

Fourth Symphony
(uncredited)
Written by Johannes Brahms
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User Reviews

 
Objective, crushing realism with the Bunuel touch
7 March 2004 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

In a sense, I felt really bad after I saw surrealist Luis Bunuel's third film Land Without Bread (or Las Hurdes), since the imagery and cold, distanced, but un-cannily sympathetic narrative reminded me of the commercials on TV for starving children in Africa and abroad. For a person such as myself seeing this for the first time in this year, when technologies and replenishments are never far from reach, this village pulls at one's heart-strings, and not just in the manipulative Sally Struthers-esque style either.

Bunuel uses half an hour to create a historical document with the emotional weight of Resnais Night and Fog, however for a different cause. Though Resnais was making an indictment of society not paying attention at the time to the horrors of the holocaust, and Bunuel is showing day-to-day life in a primitive society, the two films share a quality- these are views of humanity that Government does (or rather did) suppress, and at the least it brought me to an existential catharsis. How is it that people such as the Hurdanos stand to live like this?

But that's not to say Land Without Bread is as bleak as a Bergman film being screened for a group of methadone addicts. It is, after all, a Bunuel film, and the sense of surrealism that certainly didn't die down after his great works of art Un Chien Andalou and L'Age D'Or is present. The way he cuts to certain images, however real as can be, take on at times a sub-reality. If one ventures into this film not knowing it was conceived as a filmed document, and is perhaps cynical to believe the stone buildings and desolate, starving, doomed-looking people aren't residents of the area, one could think this is another fictional attempt by Bunuel to take jabs (vicious ones) at the Spanish government (leader Franco, who later changed his policies over the region).

It IS real, however, and once it started to dawn on me that the editing and some of the camera moves were a kin to surrealism, though over all these stark, true images, I felt the power of it and of the desperation. Now, seventy-two years after it was current events, Land Without Bread stands not only as a brief history and (as Bunuel considers it) geography lesson, but as an artistic triumph- Bunuel nails the points down and leaves faces and landscapes that etched into one's consciousness. You may feel sad after the film is over, or maybe glad that you're living in the time and place you are now. Any way to look at it, it's a worthwhile film to see.


10 of 15 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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