Saturday, September 08, 2012

Luis Buñuel's Subida al cielo / Ascent to Heaven, Take II

Surreal scenes in Subida al cielo are peppered throughout, but the most dramatic ones include a sequence involving Oliverio Grajales (Esteban Márquez), his new bride, Raquel (Lilia Prado) the "Bible vixen," and various members of the bus, including the man with a peg leg, on musical instruments. In this vision, Oliverio's mother is literally perched atop a pedestal -- while Oliverio fantasizes about throwing his wife in a lake (in a comical, not harmful way) and hooking up with Raquel in the lush Edenic garden sprouting inside of the otherwise empty bus.

Another surrealist strand is carried by the Congressional candidate. In one scene, he is expecting to meet a parade that he thinks will bestow upon him victory, but is instead met by an advancing parade led by the opposition -- like a scary anxiety dream, or a Mob scene (a mobster thinks he's about to be promoted and is instead attacked).

Newlyweds are proceeding by boat to an offshore island to consummate their marriage when they are suddenly interrupted by a brother on a larger boat carrying an urgent message from their Mamá.

Jovial bus driver Silvestre (Luis Aceves Castañeda) takes his passengers on a detour to fete his Mamá (who is expecting them), and they are later joined by a passing tour bus filled with Americans donning Shriner hats and carrying cameras.

The main passenger bus itself occasionally looks like a toy bus teetering in the mountains -- deliberate surrealism or a lucky accident due to modest budget?

Today's Rune: Movement.   


Erik Donald France said...

Charles Gramlich asked where one might track down a movie such as Luis Buñuel's 'Subida al cielo / Ascent to Heaven / Mexican Bus Ride.' Good question. More and more of Buñuel's "Mexican period" films can be ordered for a reasonable price through Amazon and via direct purchase. The Criterion Collection has at least nine of his films available here:

jodi said...

Erik, WTF? I could never 'get' this movie without an interpreter. I am so very much more literal than that. My pea brain can better understand it!

Charles Gramlich said...

Thanks for the info. I do like the surreal stuff.