The great Spanish director Luis Buñuel’s career can be divided into three broad periods. Two of these – the late 1920s and early 1930s and the 1960s and 1970s, which the director spent mostly in France, are well known. The third, the 15 or so years Buñuel spent in Mexico between the mid-1940s through to 1960 are less well known.
In this mini-series we showcase six of Buñuel’s Mexican films, including his adaptation of Wuthering Heights.
Grand Casino / Gran Casino (Tampico)
Luis Buñuel | Mexico | 1946 | 92 minutes
After the mysterious disappearance of an oil well owner, one of his workers, Gerardo (Jorge Negrete) assumes the business management. Soon, the owner’s sister (Libertad Lamarque) arrives from Argentina, and, believing that Gerardo killed her brother to keep the wells for himself, she starts working as a singer under a false name in the same casino her brother disappeared, in order to find out what exactly happened.
The Great Madcap / El gran calavera
Luis Buñuel | Mexico | 1949 | 92 minutes
“El Gran Calavera” concerns a family’s attempts to change the patriarch’s somewhat indulgent and hedonistic ways by fooling him into thinking his large fortune is gone. They assume a life of poverty in Mexico in an attempt to teach him a lesson. However, he discovers it’s a ruse, but continues to perpetuate the facade of ignorance while sneaking off during the day to conduct his thriving business. Why? To teach his family a lesson – they are all lazy, worthless leeches!
The Devil and the Flesh / Susana
Luis Buñuel | Mexico | 1951 | 86 minutes
An unstable young woman escapes from a reformatory for very, very wayward girls and deceptively finds shelter in the kind home of a frighteningly nice and decent family. Little by little, she causes unrest and discord among the members of the household, until they are virtually fighting with each other.
The Brute / El Bruto
Luis Buñuel | Mexico | 1953 | 81 minutes
A tough, tall and strong young man helps to an evil old man to kick out a poor people from their houses, but he’ll fall in love of a girl who lives with her father in the building about to be demolish.
Wuthering Heights / Abismos de pasión
Luis Buñuel | Mexico | 1953 | 91 minutes
Gone several years, the brooding Alejandro returns to the hacienda of his foster sister, Catalina, whom he loves, to find her married to the wealthy and effete Eduardo. Alejandro hates Eduardo and Catalina’s brother Ricardo; he’s rich now and has a lien on the drunken Ricardo’s ranch. He also wants Catalina to run away with him. She loves him as if he was her soul, but she also loves Eduardo and is pregnant, so she won’t leave. She wants Alejandro to stay nearby, a soul mate, but he, ruled by instinct and passion, stays only to hurt her. He woos Isabel, Eduardo’s impressionable young sister. The passions of impossible love and corrosive hate play out against Mexico’s barren high chaparral.
Luis Buñuel | Mexico | 1953 | 92 minutes
Francisco is rich, rather strict on principles, and still a bachelor. After meeting Gloria by accident, he is suddenly intent on her becoming his wife and courts her until she agrees to marry him. Francisco is a dedicated husband, but little by little his passion starts to exhibit disturbing traits. Nevertheless, Gloria meets with scepticism as she expresses her worries to their acquaintances.