Arlecchino Cinema > 15:40


Luis Buñuel
Introduced by

Olivia Harrison, Roland Chammah and Gian Luca Farinelli 


Thursday 30/06/2022


Original version with subtitles


Film Notes

In 1953, Luis Buñuel’s career as a filmmaker was restarting with increased freedom and initiative in México. After the European success of Los Olvidados, Luis Buñuel adapted with his usual accomplice and partner Luis Alcoriza the novel Él (1926) by Mercedes Pinto, which rather than a fiction was a detailed chronicle of her nightmarish ordeal as the victim of an over-jealous megalomaniac husband who was, in fact, a severe case of delirious paranoia (Lacan showed this film to his psychiatry students as a good example of the mental desorder).
Magnificently played by Arturo de Córdova, Francisco Galván is what in Spain is called a meapilas, a very churchy ‘good and pure Christian gentleman’, but in fact a middle-aged virgin. Obsessed by the shod feet of another churchgoer, Gloria (Delia Garcés), he pursues her until she breaks with her fiancé and finally marries him instead, astonishingly fascinated by his domineering character. But even on the honeymoon she starts to discover and suffer his wholly unjustified jealousy and his maniac interpretation of everything as mocking gestures, as proofs of her unfaithfulness or of conspiracies against himself and his financial and property interests. He mistrusts his own wife, his lawyers and almost everybody, despises humans, whom he sees as vermin, and megalomaniacally claims that if he were God, he would never forgive mankind.
Although usually Luis Buñuel was a great humourist as well as a permanent surrealist, this – a bit like Hitchcock’s The Wrong Man – is probably one of his most serious films, and also one of the most complex and more tensely and elliptically narrated, closing with one of the most disquieting final shots ever filmed. Considered by many as the best of Buñuel’s masterpieces together with The Criminal Life ofArchibaldo de la Cruz and The Exterminating Angel, it contains some images that make one wonder if Hitchcock had watched and recalledÉl when he was filming Vertigo five years later.

Miguel Marías




Cast and Credits

Sog.: basato sul romanzo omonimo (1926) di Mercedes Pinto. Scen.: Luis Buñuel, Luis Alcoriza. F.: Gabriel Figueroa. M.: Carlos Savage. Scgf.: Edward Fitzgerald. Mus.: Luis Hernández Bretón. Int.: Arturo de Córdova (Francisco Galván de Montemayor), Delia Garcés (Gloria Vilalta), Aurora Walker (Esperanza Vilalta), Carlos Martínez Baena (padre Velasco), Manuel Dondé (Pablo), Rafael Banquell (Ricardo Luján), Fernando Casanova (Beltrán), Luis Beristáin (Raúl Conde). Prod.: Óscar Dancigers per Ultramar Films. DCP. D.: 92’. Bn.