Thursday, May 7, 2009

Una mujer sin amor (A Woman Without Love)

(1952, Mex, 85m, b/w)
d Luis Buñuel p Sergio Kogan sc Jaime Salvador, Luis Buñuel ph Raúl Solares ed Jorge Bustos pd Gunther Gerszo m Raúl Lavista cast Rosario Granados, Julio Villareal, Javier Loya, Joaquín Cordero, Tito Junco, Elda Peralta, Eva Calvo

Buñuel’s tasteful family melodrama begins with a romantic idyll before flashing forward twenty years to the bitterness that results. The family of Carlos, Rosario and their two sons is upended by the arrival of an unexpected inheritance, which prompts suspicion, anger and the inflammation of old resentments. The specific social milieu (wealthy bourgeois) of Maupassant’s source story is Bunuel’s natural home and he skewers it gently but firmly. His fondness for Carlos is displayed through comprehensive cuckolding and speeches on the merits of drink, but the heart of the story is small, quiet Rosario Granados, whose depth of feeling is invisible to all, her noble self-sacrifice on the twin altars of family and society sustained only by the distant memory of an impossibly romantic union. There’s no hint of surrealism, and Buñuel dismissed it as his worst film, but the final shot ties off a thread of genuine emotional substance.

© Time Out Film Guide

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