7.9/10
4,525
24 user 19 critic

El (1953)

Approved | | Drama, Romance | 9 July 1953 (Mexico)
A husband's suave exterior unravels after his marriage, and he unleashes his paranoid and volatile temper on his wife, which escalates to more dangerous and unpredictable tantrums.

Director:

Luis Buñuel

Writers:

Luis Buñuel (story), Luis Alcoriza (story) | 3 more credits »
Reviews
1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Arturo de Córdova ... Francisco Galván de Montemayor
Delia Garcés ... Gloria Vilalta
Aurora Walker Aurora Walker ... Doña Esperanza Vilalta
Carlos Martínez Baena Carlos Martínez Baena ... Padre Velasco
Manuel Dondé ... Pablo
Rafael Banquells ... Ricardo Luján
Fernando Casanova ... Lic. Beltrán
José Pidal José Pidal ... Padre prior
Roberto Meyer Roberto Meyer ... Licenciado
Luis Beristáin ... Raúl Conde
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Storyline

Francisco is rich, rather strict on principles, and still a bachelor. After meeting Gloria by accident, he is suddenly intent on her becoming his wife and courts her until she agrees to marry him. Francisco is a dedicated husband, but little by little his passion starts to exhibit disturbing traits. Nevertheless, Gloria meets with scepticism as she expresses her worries to their acquaintances. Written by Eduardo Casais <eduardo.casais@research.nokia.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Another film masterpiece by the director of the prize-winning "The Young and the Damned" See more »

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Mexico

Language:

Spanish

Release Date:

9 July 1953 (Mexico) See more »

Also Known As:

This Strange Passion See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Producciones Tepeyac See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA High Fidelity)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Luis Buñuel makes a cameo appearance as one of the monks. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Le fantôme d'Henri Langlois (2004) See more »

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User Reviews

 
The Discreet Charm of the Jealousy.
24 March 2005 | by rudronriverSee all my reviews

As his most technically accomplished Mexican-period movie, and almost a mainstream one, this film can be an enjoyable first introduction into Buñuel's obsessions: the same ones that ruled the surrealistic movement. The underground psychological streams in the mind are finely expressed in this story of a pathological jealous and his victim. In his Mexican exile, Buñuel was forced to make "nourishing movies", that were the most conventional ones in his filmography, but he managed to smuggle his surrealistic ideals into all of them (even he could make the absolutely surrealistic "The Exterminating Angel").

Based on an autobiographic novel by Spanish fellow countrywoman Mercedes Pinto, this film is the vehicle for displaying many marvelous surreal moments. It can also be viewed as a brilliant clinical recreation of paranoid distress, but Buñuel recognized that the protagonist, Francisco Galván, although insane, had many of his own obsessions: his view of love as an absolute imperative, the violent impulses, the fetishism for female feet…The story shifts from one point of view to another, which is the only way to understand the "two stories" in psychotic disorders.

Part of the story and many of the ideas were used later by Hitchcock for his masterpiece "Vertigo (From among the dead)". It is difficult to say plagiarism when talking about cinema, but this would be one occasion for it. It is not coincidence that both directors share a taste for the expressive properties of objects (not only as Macguffin); as two reluctantly catholic directors, objects usually act as "sacraments" for their narrative. In "El" the church and its symbols are the background for the repression and the blooming of instincts; other Buñuel's stories may be more connected with religion than this one, but "El" shows a life absolutely permeated by the relationship of primary impulses ("eros" and "thanatos") with spiritual transcend ency. With churches as the setting of the key moments of the story (desire, love encounter, the urge for murder, disappointment), church is at the beginning and the ending of this story narrated by the man who said "Thank God, I'm an atheist".

Although was filmed in three weeks, in the midst of the limitations of Mexican film industry, the movie is close to perfection in formal terms. In contrast with his previous movies, in which a still camera was predominant, in this one the camera movements are constant. The performances and the choice of cast is the most accurate of the Buñuel's Mexican-period.


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