Bunuel in Mexico at MOMA

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Swithin
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Bunuel in Mexico at MOMA

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The Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) is presenting a comprehensive series of the Mexican films of Luis Bunuel, from February 1-20. The series will feature the better known films as well as many rarities from his Mexican period. I hope to go to a few of the screenings.

https://www.moma.org/calendar/film/5666

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La ilusión viaja en tranvía (Illusion Travels by Streetcar), 1954.
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Swithin
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Re: Bunuel in Mexico at MOMA

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Nellie LaRoy wrote: January 27th, 2024, 1:37 am A long time ago, I went through every Bunuel movie from his Mexican period (DVD/VHS) and had a great time. I am specially fond of El Gran Calavera (known in English-speaking territories as The Great Madcap, apparently.
That's one I want to see. Here's the description from the MOMA website:

"El gran calavera (The Great Madcap). 1949. Directed by Luis Buñuel. Screenplay by Janet Alcoriza, Luis Alcoriza, from a play by Adolfo Torrado. With Fernando Soler, Rosario Granados, Andres Soler. In Spanish; English subtitles. 35mm. 92 min.

Buñuel’s second Mexican film (following the unsuccessful and now unavailable Gran Casino) was a hugely popular comedy starring Fernando Soler, Mexico’s beloved, befuddled everyman, as a wealthy businessman who has lost interest in life after the death of his wife. To shake him out of an alcohol-fueled depression, a doctor enlists the help of his predatory family to convince him that he’s lost all his money and must start over again as a craftsman in a carpenter’s shop. Buñuel is still lying low here, hoping to establish his own new reputation as a reliable artisan of the cinema. But the old Marxist in him takes evident pleasure at the spectacle of Soler’s predatory family forced to cosplay as urban peasants. Complications ensue when Soler’s beautiful daughter falls in love with a handsome tradesman and he discovers that the family’s poverty is only a pose. This was the first of Buñuel’s 11 collaborations with the Spanish screenwriter Luis Alcoriza who, like the director, was a refugee from the Spanish Civil War."

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Feinberg
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Re: Bunuel in Mexico at MOMA

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As it happens I just watched The River and Death (1954) this morning which was quite good.
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Swithin
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Re: Bunuel in Mexico at MOMA

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Feinberg wrote: January 27th, 2024, 1:52 pm As it happens I just watched The River and Death (1954) this morning which was quite good.
Looking forward to that, it's playing a couple of times toward the end of the festival.

The series closes with La mort en ce jardin (Death in the Garden), starring Simone Signoret, whose character is described as "a prostitute showing no signs of a heart of gold." Made in Mexico, but in French, with a largely European cast.

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Swithin
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Re: Bunuel in Mexico at MOMA

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I walked down to MOMA today and saw Gran Casino (aka En el viejo Tampico, 1947). Directed by Luis Bunuel. Spanish with English subtitles.

Gran Casino is a hugely entertaining musical gangster film with hints of "Gilda."

The owner of a few oil wells is threatened by a crooked oil cartel because he refuses to sell his wells to them. They kill him. His friends are determined to begin pumping the oil, but the cartel kills one of them. The sister of the deceased owner comes to Mexico from Argentina. Once she learns who her brother's murderers are, she joins with the good guys and avenges her brother. Despite the murders and viciousness of the bad guys, people are always bursting into song in this movie, at the drop of a hat. There is generally a trio nearby to sing backup. The sister herself is an accomplished singer and teaches the local Mexican ladies how to sing an Argentine song properly. The female lead as well as a local bad girl could pass for Gilda surrogates. One of the most amusing characters is a middle-aged woman who is a kleptomaniac. Every time she's caught stealing something, she says: "I can't help it, the doctor says I'm a kleptomaniac."

This brief clip includes some of the music.



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