Absurd acts of violence, aggression, insatiable passion, searing lust, extreme poverty, tender love and blatant obsession all come under one roof--and onto one screen--at the Luis Buñuel Retrospective throughout March.
Nazarin, Photo courtesy Cine UC
However, the film is as boring as going to the fair, meeting the person of your dreams, riding a roller coaster, getting lost and having frogs rain down on you at night. Somewhere between the gruesome images of a woman's eye being cut open and a crowd of pedestrians viewing a dismembered hand on the ground, "boring" turns into "riveting," "spectacular" and "disturbing."
One of his early feature films, Los Olvidados ("The Forgotten"), had earned him the Best Director award at the Cannes Film Festival. Set in Mexico City, the 1950 black-and-white concerns a gang of poverty-stricken children who spend their days roaming the streets and beating up old blind men. Pedro is a young boy who unwillingly gets involved in a murder when the evil ringleader of the group, El Jaibo, kills Julian and then pays Pedro not to tell anyone.
As with many of Buñuel's films, Los Olvidados contains elements of surrealism: Picture a mother practically floating in slow motion to her child's bed in a flowing white nightgown and handing him a large chunk of raw meat. However, unlike Un Chien Andalou, there is a plot to Los Olvidados that a sane person can comprehend.
Besides the fact that Buñuel's films are intriguing, the Retrospective is a must-attend simply since the films are hard to find in most video stores--and, of course, seeing his films on a big screen happens next to never.
However, the films are in Spanish or French with Spanish subtitles; unless you have very keen eyes and fast dictionary skills, this might not be your cup of surrealism.
Cine UC: Retrospectiva de Luis Buñuel
March 9 to 31, 2009
General CP$2,500 (US$4.25), students CP$1,500 (US$2.55)
CineUC theatre de la Pontificia Universidad Católica
Alameda 390 (at Carmen)
Sunday to Friday, 4, 7 and 9:30 pm
Saturday, 7 and 9:30 pm
Metro: Universidad Catolica