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 Maud’s”). 

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 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:


 Complete credited cast: 

Arturo de Córdova .... Francisco Galvan de Montemayor 
Delia Garcés .... Gloria Milalta 
Aurora Walker .... Esperanza Peralta 
Carlos Martínez Baena .... Father Velasco 
Manuel Dondé .... Pablo 
Rafael Banquells .... Ricardo Lujan 
Fernando Casanova .... Beltran 
José Pidal 
Roberto Meyer 
Luis Beristáin .... Raul Conde 

Also Known As: 
This Strange Passion (1952)
Torments (1952) 
Runtime: 100 / Colombia:88 / USA:92 
Country: Mexico 
Language: Spanish 
Color: Black and White 
Sound Mix: RCA Victor System 
Certification: Finland:K-16 

Audio Features: Mono

Video Features: NTSC

Audio Languages: Mono: Spanish

Subtitles: French, English

Additional Information:
Interactive Menus, Scene Access, Filmographies

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