Chark, an adventurer comes to small village in the near of a gold digger's camp. He is arrested by the local police, who accuse him of having comitted a bank robbery in a neighoured town. ... See full summary »
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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.
Chark, an adventurer comes to small village in the near of a gold digger's camp. He is arrested by the local police, who accuse him of having comitted a bank robbery in a neighoured town. The police also confiscate the gold mine for the state, due to this the gold diggers start an revolution, but it is beaten. Chark, Father Lizzardi, Castin and his daugher and Djin, a whore to whom castin is in love are fleeing into the jungle. where they start to fight for their lifes. Written by
Stephan Eichenberg <email@example.com>
According to Luis Buñuel, Simone Signoret missed her husband Yves Montand so much that "on her way to join us in Mexico, she slipped some Communist documents into her passport, hoping to be turned away by American Immigration". See more »
I had seen nearly all of Bunuel's films, including his early "commercial" Mexican ones, but had actually never heard of this one before seeing it. This is really an extraordinary film! The great cast is just the beginning. It starts much like an "A" Western, with lines drawn between diamond miners and corrupt Mexican officials. Leading archetypical characters are introduced in a classic manner: the arrogant lone stranger with a distinctive cowboy hat; the old prospector who just wants to build a nest-egg so he can open a restaurant in Paris; his deaf-mute daughter; the cynical gal who does well by doing the best she can; and the naive priest. This last is, of course, a very Bunuelian character; his every good deed backfires on him, and his proselytizing is financed by big companies who find Christianized natives a cheap source of labor. The events have a classic cast and are filmed with great, stylish skill and action-film panache. But classic Bunuelian touches abound. An example: the soldiers who arrest the stranger on a trumped-up charge stop off at the church to pray, and brutally kick him to a kneeling position. The deaf-mute girl, who he had previously treated cruelly, happens to be kneeling next to him and strokes his face in compassion.
When a street battle goes badly, the lead characters all seek escape on a small steamer going up-river, and when a faster patrol boat catches up to them, they take off in the jungle on foot. At this point they quickly become lost. The pace perceptibly slows, and it becomes a film of another sort entirely. Finally, in a Bunuelian ironic ending, death comes to this strange garden. The kicker of the ending (which must have seemed much stronger in 1956) must have been in the original novel and is probably what attracted Bunuel to the story. The final scenes put one in mind of Herzog's later AGUIRRE; in fact, the whole second half of this film follows a path similar to AGUIRRE.
I am amazed that I can find no reference or commentary on this film in print, other than in checklists of Bunuel's work. I can only assume the film is caught in the classic Catch 22 of being unavailable because it is unknown and unknown because it is unavailable. It should be considered a major film in Bunuel's oeuvre! The comments of aw-komon-2, dbdumontiel, and UndeadMaster on this site are all right on the mark. This is definitely a film that cries for rerelease and reevaluation.
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