Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB.
France/Mexico, 1956. Dismage, Producciones Tepeyac. Adaptation by Luis Alcoriza, Luis Bunuel, Raymond Queneau, dialogue by Raymond Queneau, Gabriel Arout, based on the novel by Jose-Andre Lacour. Cinematography by Jorge Stahl Jr.. Produced by David Mage. Music by Paul Misraki. Production Design by Edward Fitzgerald. Costume Design by Georgette Somohano. Film Editing by Denise Charvein, Marguerite Renoir.
Fans of Luis Bunuel will have the oddest time trying to connect with his film, one of the most atypical he ever made. Reminiscent of The Wages Of Fear, it takes place in an unnamed South American country where a group of characters have to escape from a civil war that breaks out following a revolt of diamond miners. Georges Marchal is running away from the police, while brothel madam Simone Signoret just needs a change of scenery. They lead a group, including Charles Vanel (one of the stars of Wages) and Michel Piccoli as a morally upstanding priest (the closest Bunuel gets to his usual Catholic satire), on a Heart Of Darkness-like journey up the river on a boat before running aground and having to fight their way through the vicious jungle. A few characteristic visual puns here and there, but otherwise the story plays it very straight and isn’t wholly captivating. The colour cinematography is gorgeous, though, and Signoret’s star quality shines.