BUNUEL IN THE LABYRINTH OF THE TURTLES

BUNUEL IN THE LABYRINTH OF THE TURTLES

(director/writer: Salvador Simó; screenwriters: Eligio R. Montero/based on the graphic novel by Fermin Solis; cinematographer: Jose Manuel Pinero; editor: Jose Manuel Jiménez; music: Arturo Cardelus; cast: Jorge Uson (voice – Luis Bunuel), Fernando Ramos (voice-Ramón Acín Aquilué), Enrique De Tomas (voice-Pierre Unik), Cyril Corral (voice-Eli Lotar), Rachel Lascar (voice-Vicondesa de Noailles); Runtime: 80; MPAA Rating: NR; producers: Manuel Cristobal, Jose Maria Fernandez de Vega, Bruno Felix, Fenme Wolting, Alex Cervantes; GKIDS; 2018-Spain/Netherlands/France-in Spanish & French with English subtitles)

The bizarre cartoon film tells the true story of how the controversial and impoverished Spanish surrealist filmmaker Luis Buñuel (1900-1983) in the 1930s made his third movie.

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

The bizarre cartoon film tells the true story of how the controversial and impoverished Spanish surrealist filmmaker Luis Buñuel (1900-1983) in the 1930s made his third movie (the 27-minute documentary “The Land Without Bread”). It blends together mostly animation with documentary. The Paris-based Salvador Simó is the director & co-writer (“Petualangan Singa Pemberani”), with Eligio R. Montero as the other writer. It’s based on the graphic novel by Fermin Solis.

The title is derived from the name of the poor mountainous village of Las Hurdes, where the documentary was filmed.

Simó supposedly tells what really happened during the shooting at Las Hurdes and then imagines the vivid Dali-like nightmares Buñuel may have experienced during the filming (having dreams of his stern father featuring long-legged elephants and swarms of yellow butterflies).

Buñuel, the Spaniard, in his twenties was a rebel who had moved to Paris and hung out with Dali and a radical crowd of internationalists at the Left Bank cafes.

Buñuel (voiced by Jorge Usón) got his cinematic start making the daring “eyeball slitting” 1929 16-minute short “Un Chien Andalou” and followed it soon after with the full-length even more shocking anti-Catholic Church film L’Age d’Or. The angry response by the establishment and the church almost ruined his career at the onset.

Buñuel fought hard to make his only documentary, and only made it because his anarchist poet pal Ramón Acín (voice of Fernando Ramos) bought a winning lottery ticket and kept his promise to finance the film if he won.

The clever film, a must-see film for Buñuel fans and those who are new to the great filmmaker, explores his great talent and strange wit as a playful provocateur, who would later deliver a number of memorable films not covered here: such as “Viridiana,” “The Exterminating Angel,”  and  “The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie.”

REVIEWED ON 9/4/2019       GRADE: A-   
https://dennisschwartzreviews.com/

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