Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Subida al cielo (Mexican Bus Ride/Ascent To Heaven)

(1952, Mex, 84m, b/w)
d Luis Buñuel p Manuel Altolaguirre, María Luisa Gómez Mena sc Manuel Altolaguirre, Luis Buñuel, Juan de la Cabada, Manuel Reachi ph Alex Philips ed Rafael Portillo ad Edward Fitzgerald, José Rodriguez m Gustavo Pittaluga cast Estaban Márquez, Lilia Prado, Luis Aceves Castañeda, Manuel Dondé, Roberto Cobo, Beatriz Ramos, Manuel Noriega, Roberto Meyer, Leono Gómez, Carmelita González

The improbable recipient of Cannes’ 1952 prize for best avant-garde film, Buñuel’s picaresque contains familiar dream-sequences, morbidity and leg/foot fetishism, grounded in the hearty exuberance of rural folks on the eponymous trip to the city. Oliviero (Márquez) has to get a notary for his dying mother so that his brothers won’t cheat him out of his inheritance; for this Buñuel not only interrupts his wedding night, but plagues him with the advances of local bombshell Raquel (Prado). With gleeful amorality all stages of life are covered along the way, from birth to death (infanticide!), via finally-achieved coitus (in a thunderstorm atop the “Gate to Heaven” mountain pass, no less), with sharp contrast drawn between the old rural ways and modern industrial/urban living, coming down firmly in favour of the former.

© Time Out Film Guide


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