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El (rewatch)

Posted by martinteller on October 29, 2011

One of Bunuel’s best films, and certainly the finest of his lesser-known work.  An intense, gripping study of a man who goes from merely asshole to outright insane, perhaps driven just a bit by his fondness for feet (the film’s alternate title is “This Strange Passion”).  In a powerhouse performance by Arturo de Cordova, Francisco is jealous, irrational, impulsive, self-centered, paranoid, delusional, megalomaniacal, misanthropic and sadistic.  Bunuel leaves it up to the viewer to imagine what he’s doing to Julia as we hear her tormented screams echo through the mansion… or what he has in mind when he sneaks into her room with a rope, a razor blade and a pair of scissors.  Bunuel isn’t known for flashy cinematography, but he always knows exactly where to place the camera, and the film’s visual style gets more and more noir-ish as Francisco descends deeper into his obsessive madness.  There’s a subversive quality and almost a black comedy to it, like a Wyler melodrama with a perverted twist.  The film begins and ends in a church, a symbol of sexual repression and false ideals, and the brilliant final shot suggests how much it feeds into Francisco’s psychosis.  Rating: Great


One Response to “El (rewatch)”

  1. […] 62. El (1953, Luis Buñuel) […]

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