A couple having an affair strike a bicyclist with their car and do not offer aid out of fear of their relationship being exposed.A couple having an affair strike a bicyclist with their car and do not offer aid out of fear of their relationship being exposed.A couple having an affair strike a bicyclist with their car and do not offer aid out of fear of their relationship being exposed.
The pair are threatened when a pianist/art critic (Carlos Casaravilla) begins making oblique comments hinting that he knows something, and then later when the pair disagree about whether to admit what they've done or not. This tension is strong in the beginning, but falters a bit with an unnecessary subplot involving one of the professor's students, as well as in becoming a bit too much of a morality tale. It's also pretty clear what the art critic knows, but the pretense for ambiguity is carried on a little too long, and this interesting subplot and character aren't taken advantage of in better ways. It picks up towards the end though, with Bosè delivering some great moments through the coolness of her eyes, and a dramatic finish.
The film makes social points in showing how far the wealthy will go to obtain or maintain their position, and you can see in it political commentary too. After the war, society is stratified in unfair ways, with a big gap between the powerful and the poor, and indeed, the powerful can sometimes believe they are above the law. The scene of the crime being near a battlefield seems to mean that this horrifying but relatively small act is a microcosm of much larger crimes having been committed against Spain, or something along those lines. Seen from that perspective, perhaps the ending is less the natural conclusion of a morality tale, and more a subversive message, which was interesting to think about. It's when I consider these aspects and the courage it took for Bardem to make films like this under Franco that I liked 'Death of a Cyclist' best. As just a drama alone, it's probably just average, but it could be rated higher because of this context.
- Dec 12, 2018