Thursday, February 23, 2012

Luis Buñuel: La mort en ce jardin, Take One

Luis Buñuel's movies would be ideal for the marooned, assuming electricity was available. La mort en ce jardin (1956) /Death in the Garden provides a microcosm of the history and psychology of humankind, which is another way of suggesting its universal nature. 

The specific setting: a mining camp and adjoining village (in the first half) and a river and riparian jungle (in the second half) in mid-20th century South America. Here, archetypical, mythical types mix with historically realistic conditions. A chain reaction of conflict is caused by 1) a decree to take over the mine, backed by the local soldiery and opposed by the miners, many of them "not from these parts;" and 2) individuals seeking to exploit the situation or ride the chaos on all sides. Buñuel is able to see (and show) events from multiple perspectives in a way that is relevent and timeless.

Here, in a scene that could be taking place in any number of hotspots in 2012, Capitán Ferrero is trying to figure out why one of his men and two miners have suddenly become casualties and, what next?

Including Ferrero (Jorge Martínez de Hoyos), all of the major characters could just as easily be placed in a similar setting today, or even five thousand years ago: Djin (Simone Signoret), a prostitute; Shark (Georges Marchal), a roguish adventurer; Chenko (Tito Junco), a roguish trader-merchant; Father Lizardi (Michel Piccoli), standing in for all organized religious power; Castin (Charles Vanel), a foreign miner-worker; and María (Michèle Girardon), Castin's deaf-mute daughter.

Today's Rune: Partnership.

1 comment:

Charles Gramlich said...

Ride the chaos on both sides. There you have it. I don't have the fortitude for that kind of behavior but those are the ultimate survivors.