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Deep passion for Gloria Marín causes turmoil in Arturo de Córdova
"Crepúsculo" (1945) aka "Twilight" is an excellent film noir both from the classic era and the Golden Age of Mexican cinema. The film features top-notch cinematography, direction, acting and set design. The story is a melodrama of deep passion, told mostly in flashback by Arturo de Córdova. He's a brain surgeon who has lost his first patient and wonders whether or not this was due to a criminal impulse and action during the surgery or to mental instability.
De Córdova fell deeply in love with Gloria Marín, but she married Manuel Arvide, who eventually became his patient after he had an accident. At that time, de Córdova and Marín were seeing each other again despite her marriage, and the suspicious Arvide had designs on de Córdova's life. Adding complication was that Marín's sister, Lilia Michel, had fallen in love with de Córdova.
The film creates a remarkable and sustained dreamlike mood built around these intensely passionate relationships. The story centers on de Córdova's character, who is utterly torn and in a quandary. He is uncertain of his own mental state, his own motivations and his own directions, other than his attraction to Marín is so powerful. He is seeking some kind of anchor in the truth of his self but not finding it. He has entered a twilight state of mind, between light and dark. A shadow has passed over his conscience, making him unsure of himself. Lilia Michel and her love are aimed at rescuing him. Marín draws him on.
In this noir, there is no poverty and no overt crime. There are criminal thoughts and tendencies and the possibility of a crime, but these all exist in a twilight shadow of uncertainty. The sets are meticulous and upper class, as are the main characters, but the wealth doesn't shield them from their human passions and weaknesses. Quite often within the rich sets, light falls through Venetian blinds in striated patterns and often we see the interiors from a tilted angle. The seeming stability of class and money is undermined visually as the emotions of de Córdova's character are.
De Córdova is perfect in the part as he could portray weak protagonists so very well. Marín and Michel are two contrasting sisters, each attractive in her own way, but Marín is the sultry, seductive and calculating one while Michel bears her love secretly and attempts to parry her sister and bring de Córdova to his senses.
"Crepúsculo" is well-known to fans of Mexican cinema and noir, appearing at film festivals from time to time that celebrate movies like this such as La Otra, La Diosa Arrodillada, and En la Palma de tu Mano. The time is overdue for films from Mexico's golden age to be released on dvds with subtitles for viewers not fluent in Spanish.
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