17th November, 18.45hrs
Buñuel had adapted Brontë’s Wuthering Heights as early as 1931 – before he won international fame for Los Olvidados and Él. He wrote the adaptation with Pierre Unik – his collaborator on the screenplay for Las Hurdes. Brontë’s intensely melodramatic tale of passion and desire, mingled with themes of aristocratic bad blood and the opposing of instinct and culture, violence and domesticity, must have greatly appealed to former surrealists, avowed communists, and in Buñuel’s case, to a brilliant satirist.
Moreover – this film was a perfect fit for a very Mexican love of high drama and hysteria, murderous confrontation and amour fou.
What does the film deliver? Buñuel in Mexico was a disciplined and adaptable director. He could make do and cut his cloth. He was known to make of use only 125 shots, and maximum of two takes, in order to deliver a feature film. His shoots tended to wrap ahead of schedule. Such brisk ‘B’ movie approaches define something of the style and manner of much of his Mexican films: they are works of brio and velocity.
The film opens with gunfire, and ends with gunfire. The landscape dwarfs the human, tragedy is unstoppable. In Mexico, where the dead are treated as absent friends, the necrophilia hinted at by Brontë need not be concealed. In what other cinema than that of Buñuel and that of Mexico might love be fulfilled with the tender unveiling and kissing of a corpse?
Starring: Irasema Dilián & Jorge Mistral
Spanish, with English subtitles
Screening from the best vaiable copy, likley to be video