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Snippets of the Life of Bunuel

Author: nycritic
25 August 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

EL NAUFRAGO DE LA CALLE PROVIDENCIA could have been a better documentary, but it sort of falls flat on its face in its commentators trying to elaborate a bit much on how they came to know Luis Bunuel, and their relationship with him over the years. Poorly filmed, it has short scenes that lead nowhere, as when Bunuel's wife Jeanne makes her entrance early on in the documentary, walks through their library, and exits, looking pensive. It brings nothing to the short, as she also says rather little, and too much emphasis is made on Bunuel's drink of his own name, "El Bunuelino." Lilia Prado, despite looking like she's going out to a disco with huge hair and a mini, has some endearing things to say about Bunuel, but Gustavo Alatriste comes off quite pompous in his self-promoting chatter of how he backed Bunuel up financially when he was faced with going back to Spain and filming what became VIRIDIANA for Franco. True, he may have had the money, but I believe he didn't need to flaunt it that much because it comes off as if he were trying to make himself seem more important, but again, Latin culture is highly descriptive -- almost to poetic lengths -- when telling such stories, and it's just part of the personality of the culture to have the teller somehow include himself in his or her recollections. Featured in the DVD version of LE CHARME DISCRET DE LA BOURGEOISIE alongside the much better documentary, A PROPOSITO DE BUNUEL.

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