Rainer's Review of Les Hurdes (Land Without Bread)


  • 22 months ago via Rotten Tomatoes
    Les Hurdes (Land Without Bread)

    Les Hurdes (Land Without Bread) (1933)

    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.

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