Amid a revolution in a South American mining outpost, a band of fugitives – a roguish adventurer (Georges Marchal), a local hooker (Simone Signoret), a priest (Michel Piccoli), an aging diamond miner (Charles Vanel), and his deaf-mute daughter – are forced to flee for their lives into the jungle. Starving, exhausted, and stripped of their old identities, they wander desperately lured by one deceptive promise of salvation after another. Shot in brilliant Eastmancolor and featuring a star-studded cast, Death in the Garden is a pulsating adventure film alive with Surrealist gestures, making it classic Luis Buñuel.
Although regarded as the greatest artist of Spanish cinema Luis Buñuel only made three films that are Spanish by nationality. His exile from his homeland at the end of the Spanish Civil War resulted in extended periods in Mexico and France. Despite this displacement, Spain was never far from Buñuel’s mind. The peasant culture of the villages of Calanda and Zaragoza, many of them dating to the Middle-Ages, greatly influenced his imagination during his childhood. The Spanish literary tradition, represented by Lope de Vega, Cervantes and the writers of picaresque stories, remained constant touchstones. Strongest of all was the distinctly Spanish nature of his Catholicism; he would retain its influence long after he renounced the teachings of the Church. At the University of Madrid his friendship with poet Federico Garcia Lorca and painter Salvador Dalí would play a major role in the avant-garde of the 1920s. It was during this period that he discovered the works of Sigmund Freud. His insight… read more
Quite commercial picture from Bunuel's Mexican period that seems pale in comparison to the other pictures of the time period. Story is one of survival in the jungle mixing in the archetypes of bandit, prostitute, priest, tather and daughter. A story of hope, faith, acceptance and the loss of each. The Paris cutaway scene is just brilliant but stands alone in a pretty mainstream picture.
In our annual poll, we pair our favorite new films of 2012 with older films seen in the same year to create fantastic double features.
"Admirers of Michel Piccoli know better than to ignore any film, however slight, that is anchored and calmed by his presence," wrote Anthony
Death in the Garden (Luis Buñuel, Mexico/France, 1956) is now playing on The Auteurs in the US for free. *** Above: Don't forget your lipstick