Les Hurdes (Land Without Bread) Reviews

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Super Reviewer
½ January 26, 2010
It's not necessarily a great piece of film, it just happens to capture cynicism very well. I respect the brave film making and the bizarre sense of humor because it really does exploit an entire community without any compassion.
Super Reviewer
February 5, 2008
Astonishing. Bunuel messes with the documentary with very entertaining and surreal results. One of my favorite directors of all time.
June 10, 2009
But one thing I do respect about Bunuel, his willingness to brutally slaughter animals for the sake of his artistic vision. The donkey stung to death by bees was infirm anyway.
½ September 26, 2007
Wow. This is some amazing work pointing out the fact that all documentaries and all films have a point of view. I thought the American voice-over was mean, apparrently the others are even worse.
July 16, 2014
Luis Bunuel's background in surrealism actually proved resourceful for documentary films. This look at an impoverished Spanish village is unsettling even by today's standards.
June 7, 2014
Land Without Bread is a short documentary showing a small poverty stricken town in Spain. What's nice about this is that it's a new take on what you are normally shown. You often see the poverty side through the years of your own country, and this short gives you the chance to view this in another culture.
There is no sound other than a voice-over describing what is happening on the screen. Whilst hearing the sounds and voices would have been nice, without it makes you pay extra attention to some of the astonishing scenes on show. This is not a documentary showing those suffering but rather how the small community manages to live a normal life with so little. It is extraordinary hearing about how they handle burials.
Whilst the filmmakers describe it as a documentary, some viewers will argue it to be the first ever parody of a documentary. It is easy to see where they are coming from. Some shots are clearly set up including an amusing multi-angle shot of a goat falling down a cliff. The narrator also comes out with lines which are not entirely serious.
Whether you find it amusing or distressing, Land Without Bread manages to keep your attention the entire half an hour.
February 1, 2013
Would never watch it again but it's short and has a few intriguing moments.
December 29, 2012
A short documentary about the misery in a remote region in Spain.
½ December 25, 2011
That's not surrealism, this documentary is a distorted view of reality for propaganda against the fascist regime in Spain.
That said I'd like to remind that I'm against fascism, but I'm against the distortion of reality as well.
The stars I gave are just for the historical value of that document.
November 9, 2012
I really start to become a film snob...

Why I'm bringing this up? Well, I just watched a black and white documentary short by great avantgardist Luis Bunuel - in French - without subtitles - in a theater.

Terre sans Pain runs for only about half an hour and its main subject, a grinding poor mountain region in Spain seems not very interesting, but this is a very fine example of what's the essential skill that made Bunuel a star.

TSP is told without any compromise, it starts with this strange and macabre rite in L'Alberca that has newlyweds snap off rooster heads up to the examination of the various types of incest-related malformations in Las Hurdes.

I wouldn't call it surrealistic or even avant-garde, it's pretty straight-forward but you can clearly see Bunuel talent in finding the exact right look for every frame he's filming and the objective and calm tone of the narrator is in stark contrast to the pictures and the pretty leftist messages he conveys.

Visually stunning (well, maybe stunning is not the right word, rather perfectly framed), gory (sounds like fun, doesn't it) and surprisingly emotionally deep, Terre sans Pain is another point of favour for Bunuel.
September 29, 2012
dude frankie i've seen this just yesterday. pennywise's the cretin in it.
December 13, 2011
A document of high dramaticity, coldness and pungency that depicts the existence of the problematic of social inequality since remote times.
½ February 19, 2011
brutally narrated documentary of a valley living in poverty which ends up being a satirical and surreal film.
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