A Social Commentary where Buñuel makes fun of the Méxican
bourgeoisie, the upper class, and their only thin layer
of civilized behaviour, or .... is it just an absurd and funny comedy-drama
and enigma. Either way it's uniquely Buñuel.
In the extras interview Silvia Pinal says that Buñuel did not
have a message or meant it to be a social commentary,
even though the bourgeoisie people gathered at this dinner for sure
looks ridiculous. He just wanted to have fun.
Buñuel didn't like messages in his films and the idea of "repetition"
interested him, and social rituals. The people in
this film can't leave a living-room after having dinner and there are
repetition going on, with guests arriving two times
to the mansion, with people repeating what they just said, like they
where stuck in some kind of time warp.
Something similar to what happened in 1972 "Le charme discret de
la bourgeoisie" where a party of people is repeatedly
hindered from having a dinner together (with the hilarious scene where
they finally sit down to eat, and the curtain goes
up and they are sitting on a theatre scene with a clapping audience
In his autobiography "My Last Sigh" Buñuel
says that he would've wanted to shoot the film in Paris or London with
european actors and with better costumes and that they couldn't even
get hold of table napkins. In some interview i
think someone said also that it's highly doubtful if any Méxican
bourgeoisie would've gathered for a dinner after having
been at the Opera as the people in the film. There were no such bourgeoisie,
they just weren't that refined.
Above: The Booklet with texts
On Calle del Providencia (The Street of Fate) there
is about to be a big dinner in the Nobile mansion. A party of friends
will gather to enjoy dinner and a nice evening after having been at
the Opera House. But there are some strange things
going on as the servants are leaving the house, they have a sense ....
like the birds who can sense a natural catastrophe
coming their way perhaps. Only one servant stays, Julio (Claudio Brook)
and the Bear and the Sheep that the hosts of
the evening, Edmundo and Lucía Nobile (Enrique Rambal and Lucy
Gallardo) would've surprised their guests with.
Occurrences starts repeating itself, with the guests repeating what
they just said or talking gibberish, using words from
conversations someone other has used, and with the guests mysteriously
arriving at the mansion two times.
After the meal the social rituals continues in the living-room
with lots of empty chatter, and at 4.00 AM in the morning
they really should start getting their coats and leave, but somehow
they can't leave the room. Instead they start to undress
and go to bed, in sofas, chairs and on the floor of their hosts living-room.
The next day they start to wonder why they
didn't leave the last evening and why they can't leave the room full
of people gathered tight together, and the next night
they start getting scared. Why are no-one coming there, no staff, not
the milk-man, no-one ?
But, no-one can enter the house from the outside either. The Police
have tried but immediately lost interest and giving up.
After a couple of days they are hungry, thirsty, irritable
and smell bad. What's going on ? Are they in some sort of Time
Warp, in a house of Ectoplasm .... or in a piece of Luis Buñuel
enigmatic fun ?
Silvia Pinal plays Leticia, the mistress of the host Edmundo Nobile.
The film is presented in original 4:3 fullscreen ratio,
black & white, with spanish audio LPCM mono and english subtitles
Extras: The Last Script: Remembering Luis Buñuel (2008 Documentary
97 minutes in spanish with english subtitles),
Silvia Pinal 2006 Interview (10 minutes, spanish with subs), Arturo
Ripstein 2006 Interview (15 minutes in english) Note:
Ripstein is my favourite Méxican film director, the Buñuel
of México and he visited the shooting of this film,
Trailer and a Booklet with texts