Mitl Valdez’s film Los confines (1987) is an adaptation of several works of fiction by the Mexican author Juan Rulfo. The director chose to adapt two short stories (“Talpa” and “¡Diles que no me maten!”) and an episode from the author’s first novel, Pedro Páramo. Valdez’s intent was to “capturar el sentido” of the Jaliscan author or, in other words, to remain faithful to certain elements of his writing while adjusting them to the filmic medium. Continue reading
On his downfall from Heaven to Hell, Lucifer passes through the earthly paradise, a village in Mexico, where elderly Lupita and her granddaughter Maria live. Lupita’s brother Emanuel pretends he’s paralyzed so he can drink and gamble while the two women tend to the sheep. Lucifer senses an opportunity and plays the miraculous healer. He forces Emanuel to walk again, seduces Maria and makes Lupita doubt about her faith. He didn’t bring bad luck, he only illuminated the line between good and evil, where it didn’t exist before. Continue reading
Acclaimed director Luis Buñuel displays several of his trademark interests in this drama about a priest who leaves his order. The director´s disdain for organized religion and the establishment, as well as his tendency to shock through visual imagery, are both apparent. Nazarin (Francisco Rabal) is the priest who leaves his order and decides to go on a pilgrimage. As he goes along subsisting on alms, he shelters a prostitute wanted by the police for murder. He is released from suspicion and she eventually catches up with him when she escapes imprisonment. Another woman joins the duo and soon the ex-priest is learning more about the human heart and suffering than when he wore robes. As for the shocking scenes, suffice to say the ravages of a plague are also shown. ~ Eleanor Mannikka, Rovi Continue reading
Simon of the Desert is Luis Buñuel’s wicked and wild take on the life of devoted ascetic Saint Simeon Stylites, who waited atop a pillar surrounded by a barren landscape for six years, six months, and six days, in order to prove his devotion to God. Yet the devil, in the figure of the beautiful Silvia Pinal, huddles below, trying to tempt him down. A skeptic’s vision of human conviction, Buñuel’s short and sweet satire is one of the master filmmaker’s most renowned works of surrealism. Continue reading
Six hearty fellows in the tiny hamlet of San Pablo decide to join the revolutionary army of Pancho Villa. The Federales have already put a price on the head of young Miguel Ángel del Toro (Ramón Vallarino), and the others rush to join up under the unofficial leadership of Don Tiburcio Maya (Antonio R. Frausto), a farmer who leaves behind a wife and two small children. They boast that they are known as ‘The Lions’ when they meet Francisco ‘Pancho’ Villa (Domingo Soler); he makes them lieutenants and encourages them to live up to their claim. The six fight fiercely, lead assaults and pull off major coups like riding right up to an enemy machine gun and dragging it off with a lasso. This crazy do-or-die spirit results in a slow attrition of their numbers. The surviving three are promoted to Major but Don Tiburcio begins to feel that they’ve contributed enough to the slaughter, even if the devil-may-care jokester Melitón Botello (Manuel Tamés) feels compelled to tampt fate through stupid tests of manhood. The Revolution uses up good men, with little reward but empty glory.
— Glenn Erickson. Continue reading
In this documentary within a narrative-and vice versa-a grandiose filmmaker (Alex Ross Perry) arrives in the Yucatán to scout locations for his new movie, a production that will involve exposing the last extant celluloid film stock on the eve of the Mayan Apocalypse. Instead, he finds himself waylaid by the formal schizophrenia of the film in which he himself is a character. Simultaneously a tribute to and a critique of The Last Movie (Dennis Hopper’s seminal obliteration of the boundary separating life and cinema), La última película engages with the impending death of celluloid through a veritable cyclone of film and video formats, genres, modes, and methods. Martin and Peranson have created an unclassifiable work that mirrors the contortions and leaps of the medium’s history and present. An Art of the Real 2014 selection. A M’Aidez Films release (C) Lincoln Center Continue reading
The imagined apocalypse presented to us through portraits of characters struggling to survive in a hostile environment, where all they have is each other, and the only thing they posses in common is the will to keep on living, no matter the cost.
Winner of Locarno 2014 Continue reading