SLIGHT SPOILERS El is similar in style to other productions made by Bunuel in Mexico. It reminded me of both Los Olvidados and Nazarin. Unlike in the early or late films, the style is more realistic and more akin to melodrama. In fact, all three of these films each contain a single surrealist scene. Los Olvidados has the dream, Nazarin has the fantasy where the wife bites off her husband's lower lip, and El has, well, El's surrealist moment comes near the end and is too good to give away. If you've seen the film, I'm sure you know to what I refer. El can be divided up into three easily identifiable sections, each about a half-hour each. The first is told from the point of view of an aristocrat who catches sight of a beautiful woman in church. It's love at first sight, but he soon finds out that she is the wife of a friend of his. At this point, I was fully expecting a cheapy adulterous romance picture, a soap opera. That was the genre that was dominating Mexican cinemas at the time. Luckily, the film doesn't follow a predictable route. There is at this point an elipsis of time, as that first man runs into the woman. He innocently offers her a ride home. Grudgingly, she accepts. On the ride home, she tells him of how her husband's jealously is destroying her. He's an extremely paranoid man, and he has actually threatened to murder her on two separate occasions. She finds opposition everywhere as she is looking for help. The third section of the film is told from the point of view of the husband. His jealousy is starting to lead him off a cliff. The title of the film actually refers to him. "El" is the masculine, singular, definite article in Spanish. Bunuel had a gift for endings. El's is as good as that of Nazarin or Viridiana. By the way, a bit of trivia about that final image: the actor in the cloak at the end of the film, walking down the path, is not the same one who played Francisco in the rest of the film. It's Bunuel. 9/10.
Drama / Romance
Drama / Romance
A husband's suave exterior unravels after his marriage, and he unleashes his paranoid and volatile temper on his wife, which escalates to more dangerous and unpredictable tantrums.
August 4, 2020