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Under the Volcano (1984) - Plot Summary Poster

Plot Summary

  • Against a background of war breaking out in Europe and the Mexican fiesta Day of Death, we are taken through one day in the life of Geoffrey Firmin, a British consul living in alcoholic disrepair and obscurity in a small southern Mexican town in 1939. The Consul's self-destructive behaviour, perhaps a metaphor for a menaced civilization, is a source of perplexity and sadness to his nomadic, idealistic half-brother, Hugh, and his ex-wife, Yvonne, who has returned with hopes of healing Geoffrey and their broken marriage.

    - Written by Eric Wees <eric_wees@ccmail.chin.doc.ca>
  • It's November 1, 1938 - the Day of the Dead - in Cuernavaca, Mexico, which is located in the shadows of Popocatépetl. Geoffrey Firmin, British Consul to Mexico, has just quit his job. His best friend is a bottle of booze, as he constantly tries to drown out the world's and his own personal problems. The former category includes the Spanish Civil War, the rise of Nazism in Germany and the associated effect it has on Mexican nationalism. The latter category mostly concerns the divorce a year ago from his actress wife, Yvonne Fermin, who has left Mexico but has tried to keep in touch with him via correspondence. Despite she having written to him several times with her intentions (to which he never replied), Yvonne returns to Cuernavaca on this day to, on the surface, rekindle their marriage. A slight strain is placed on the proceedings by the fact that Geoffrey's younger half-brother, Hugh Fermin, is also in Cuernavaca. Hugh, who was covering the war in Spain, decided instead to come to Mexico to help his brother regain sobriety and thus his life. But a self-destructive Geoffrey may make Hugh and Yvonne's tasks difficult if not impossible.

    - Written by Huggo

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