||Luckily, one of my
best friends is from Barcelona. “El” is the masculine, definitive
article in Spanish.
In the film, “El”, director Luis Buńuel provides a
plethora of masked societal and psychological mediations on his usual
themes of sexually based bents, the selfish unawares of the upper class,
macho trappings and religious hypocrisy.
A young boy in church views a ritualistic adorning of a foot. Not unlike the strong effect of Rosebud on Kane, this event succeeds in having a long lasting effect of his life as he sexually matures.
Francisco (played by Arturo de Córdova) is a wealthy, bachelor of the highest moral standards, as evidenced by the repeated declarations of his pastor. Unfortunately, his glaring weaknesses of insecurity, jealousy, paranoia and presumed manhood get the better of his life.
by Luis Buñuel
Review of the film and DVD by Gary W. Tooze
|Francisco falls in love at first glance with an attractive
young lady, Gloria, who he sees in church one morning (not unlike the
protagonist Jean-Louis in Eric Rohmer’s “My Night at
Hardly having officially met, he is uncaring of her current
engagement plans and vows to conquer her, making her his wife. Swayed by
his wealth, Gloria’s mother encourages the nuptials and unfortunately
Francisco expects his young bride to fulfill his manically virtuous and
puritanical ideals, which prove impossible.
|As she closes her eyes to kiss him, he construes her of having
infidel thoughts. He begins to focus on the obtaining of his deceased
father’s land further extending his irrational machismo behavior. The
extent to which this obsession distresses him is testament to yet
another dysfunctional effect on his crumbling marriage.
Even after two unsuccessful attempts to murder her, one glance at her high-heel clad foot and he is ready to weep for her forgiveness, further exposing his perverse masculinity and repressed sexual drive.
|The story ends in lesser disaster for all involved as a half-mad Francisco, is “institutionalized”, yet still fulfilling his religious delusions, while we find Gloria is remarried with a young child. The film is wracked with underpinnings and subtle mockery of further conventions of the church, bourgeoisie and bizarre sexual frustrations. Masterpiece? … Yes, not only from the standpoint of an exploration of symbolic depths, but as a surface entertainment film as well. I enjoyed it immensely, and I encourage you delve into Buńuel’s world with its impeccable perfection of narrative and delightful post-reflection of decayed social and moral consciousness. out of|
Trivia: In the final scene:
FILM and DVD Details
||Wow, what a find !
This is the 2nd feature on a Spanish DVD that I purchased from DVDGO.com in Madrid, Spain. The first feature, Buñuel's "The Criminal Life of Archibaldo de la Cruz", is also of good quality image and sound. Both films have options for English, French (or none) subtitles and "El" is defined by 10 chapters. The DVD is in NTSC format and Region 0. A MUST for Buñuel fans!
Click to order from:
Audio Features: Mono