A film I love because Luis Buñuel, under the cover of an adventure movie, tells us a lot of things. Biblical references are multiple of course but they're deflected in front of Buñuel's camera. We'll never know for instance whether Simone - Marie-Madeleine - Signoret would have made an act of contrition after all. Masterpiece.
"In-a-gadda-da-vida, honey..." From a cast of hundreds at the start to only two at the end. Interesting how the two younger, 'wilder', less calculating characters end up surviving. The film plays on a well-worn theme of the jungle as a place where the rules of 'civilization' no longer apply, and where outlaws (experienced in surviving outside of civilization) thrive. A routine story told by an extraordinary director.
A bore, really, at least for the 1st hour. Standard - if very pretty - melodrama, with hints, sure, of the director's leanings - more intellectual cameos than anything of relevance... One brilliant moment of cinema where nature reanimates a snake. Then 45 more minutes which - albeit compelling - could've been as effective as a play. I dunno. These rave reviews... Part confirmation bias? Maybe just different tastes.
Far too many characters at play for the transformations to be handled with care. The plot stumbles from a promising study of peasant exploitation, sexual labor, popular resistance and the role of the church as a tool of colonialism during the era of Latin American military dictatorship - before lurching into a muddled tale of personal redemption. That said, Bunuel's take on the Heart of Darkness is compelling cinema.
welcome to the jungle / watch it bring you to your sha na na na na knees knees .... "While its first half is unlikely ever to invite the rigorous readings that can be made of its second, it has a profound influence upon how we approach that second section. ...[as it] transitions from a film directed by Buñuel into a Buñuel film." - Scott Jordan Harris, PopMatters. 3.5 stars
A really great find! Buñuel has so many card-carrying masterpieces that it's easy for gems like this to escape notice. As a brush with the mainstream, it both proves he could tell a simple story and subverts the idea that a story is ever so simple. The first half shows the ridiculousness of human rules, and the second shows what happens when those rules disappear. Ironic, perverse, and worthy of his name.