El (This Strange Passion) (Torments) Reviews
There is a great deal of character depth. Emotions are meticulously examined. The characters are anything but one-dimensional. It is exceedingly Hitchcockian. And just as effective! (I dare even say, Shakespearean.) The film serves as a peering study into the human psyche. Particularly issues of paranoia, trust, self-absorption, (lack of) communication, & madness. The strange irony of someone who wanted something so badly, but didn't know how to hold onto it. Rather, who held on so tightly, that he ended up suffocating it. It would seem to say that love has vastly different effects on different people, in ways that are difficult to imagine. Pacing was incredibly effective in building suspense & holding interest, with just the right hint of surrealism. The acting certainly contributed.
I loved how the movie came full circle, at the end.
In the beginning, he gets into a taxi to follow Gloria because of desire. In the end, he gets into a taxi to follow her, in order to inflict dominance & control. And he goes to 'confront' her in the same place that he met her. In church. Impressive storytelling. My one issue is that I wish there was a little more background info regarding his properties lawsuit, which is never fully explained.
I imagine that some of Buñuel's enthusiasts are not as keen on this film for the same reason that I dislike his better known works. He appeals to a certain kind of person. And that person is the very opposite of my kind. So this film -- being somewhat of a departure from his usual, predictable, distasteful iconoclasm -- is welcome to me. And perhaps bad news for those who like his crappy movies. I wish he made more like it. Because he did it well.
(The Flixster review is stupid, in that he is not "lying" to himself that he is cured & partaking in "empty homilies." Especially when we see other practitioners in the film who are completely satisfied in their ecclesiological participation. No, this interpretation is quite simply wrong, & rather callow. The film says nothing of this, & is pure conjecture on the part of those who probably love Bunuel's typical iconoclasm, & are scrounging to be sated here, somehow. But rather, he is taking steps, as can be seen in his lengthy sabbatical, in order to help his struggle, which is still very much present. No one denies that certain illnesses can be completely cured. But if one actually pays attention to the dialogue in the movie, it is pointed out that he has become a picture of humility, which is a much different picture than was left when he was last detained. The reviewer is highly ignorant & blatantly prejudiced at the expense of truth. He wants a certain movie, in order to feed his own bigotries. He should look elsewhere in Bunuel's filmography. There is plenty to sate him there. This film isn't one. The Catholic portrayal in most, if not all, instances is fairly neutral to positive. El is certainly not cured. But he is better than he was. I don't recall anyone claiming that devotion meant that one was cured of great pain. The most devoted are often those struggling with the greatest suffering. That's quite well documented & far more obvious than the reviewer seems to realize. He most certainly is not 'cured' of his pain, but his continuing struggle & his painstaking attempt to end it is what makes the conclusion of this film so compelling.)
*Note: I wrote this before I had seen 'Nazarin,' which I now believe to be Buñuel's magnum opus.
Sorry, but had to speak my mind. I still see it as a puzzle.
Starring Arturo de Cordova, Delia Garces, Aurora Walker, Carlos Martinez Baena, Manuel Donde
Arturo de Cordova steals every scene as the rich husband whose jealousy turns from normalcy to irrationality to hatred. It?s an operatic study of internal conflicts with a lashing situated in a troubled household. But the final solution is unexpectedly low beat after that semi ?Lost Weekend? trail of madness.
Best Scene: Don Francisco gets the laughing treatment inside the church.
[b]Tristana [/b]is an adaptation of the known Benito Pérez Galdós novel of the same name. I enjoyed the book so I was looking foward to what Buñuel would do with the material. I must admit the casting is excellent. Fernando Rey is pitch perfect as the egocentric and aging Don Lope, Catherine Deneuve is as addecuate as poor Tristana. But the film goes wrong in many ways. Not only the adaptation is mediocre (too many changes, including a change of time and place), but the film itself isn't very engaging. The dream sequences and even an amputation are there, and the acting cannot be criticized, but it is slow and tedious at times, too theatrical at others. Lots of sobriety and not much reward.
[b]Él [/b](and not "El", as some name it), which literally means "Him", has become my new favourite film by Buñuel (replacing [i]Los Olvidados[/i]). It's a very fine movie which the director made during his mexican period. A harrowing, convincing and genuine take on a man's obsession. Arturo de Cordova is insanely brilliant as Francisco, a religious man who goes mad for a young woman, Gloria., whom he soon marries The man's passion towards his wife ends up reaching tragic and disturbing heights. It somehow reminded me of [i]Tristana [/i](an older man obsessed with a younger woman), but this here is much more intense and captivating. A total must.