Directed by Luis Bunuel and released in its home country of Mexico in 1965.
Another of Bunuel’s ambitious films about virtue (and from a pretentious critics point of view: one might label it pretentious) – this time focusing on a man who is literally put up on a pedestal in the desert. Hilarious at times – a man with no hands is healed, given back both of his hands, and the first thing he does is his smack his child with one of them – and downright outrageous at others – a coffin is dragged through the desert in front of Simon’s podium and out pops the Devil – Bunuel’s even stranger surrealist beginnings truly pay off for him here as it contains some of his most ambitious editing.
As with all his films though, it’s the screenplay that impresses most beyond anything – unfortunately for this film though it is let down by a less than satisfying ending and the fact that it was supposed to be followed by another film or two on the end of it in a portmanteau style that starred Silvia Pinal. That plan never came into fruition and this film suffers from it. It does work by itself though – just not as well as it may’ve if there were other films bookending it.
Directed by Carlos Reygadas and released in it’s home country of Mexico in 2005.
The following review does contain spoilers.
An uncompromising and brutally honest tale of one man’s search for redemption and failure at finding it. Full of unsimulated sex and incredible cinematography that moves ever so slowly through it’s scenes. What’s more incredible is just the sheer inventiveness of the camerawork and how it moves, undoubtedly challenged by very few. At the halfway mark, there is a ten minute long shot that swoops around the surrounding apartments during a pivotal sex scene. It begins with the two participants having sex and ends with them embracing. Something I can only marvel at the greatness of.
From the very start of the film, it’s clear that our protagonist has a lot on his mind and as we begin to uncover the reality of what he’s done he continues to do even worse things. Claiming today is the day he will turn himself in to the police, he kills the very woman he has admired for decades… Kind of schizophrenic and undoubtedly misanthropic in his actions, Marcos’ character is one I will undoubtedly refer back to many times in years to come in the works of my own. As the film draws to an end, Marcos’ search for redemption is propelled by the words of a preacher. He gets down on his knees with a bag put over his head by the aforementioned preacher, and crawls toward the Basilica – a holy building – desperate for forgiveness.
For the most part, it’s always the most brutally honest films that get the most flack from so-called “critics”, and it’s always the most honest films that can truly give us a sense of realism and refuse to hold back in the representation of truth and It’s for this that I highly commend Carlos Reygadas’ direction here, aswell as that of any other filmmaker whose bravery shines through their work. For some filmmakers cinema is the tipping point of self-expression, and Carlos Reygadas is clearly at the top of that list in terms of modern auteurs.