Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBBB.
Mexico, 1959. Producciones Barbachano Ponce. Adapted for the screen by Luis Bunuel, Julio Alejandro, dialogue by Emilio Carballido, based on the novel by Benito Perez Galdos. Cinematography by Gabriel Figueroa. Produced by Manuel Barbachano Ponce. Music by Rodolfo Halffter. Production Design by Edward Fitzgerald. Costume Design by Georgette Somohano. Film Editing by Carlos Savage. Cannes Film Festival 1959.
A young Spanish priest (Francisco Rabal) ministering to the people of a dusty corner of Mexico City is run out of town when he is discovered giving shelter to an injured prostitute. Two women, the one he protected as well as a second, love his completely selfless nature and are willing to do whatever it takes to help him, following him wherever he goes. Any place the priest takes his divine wisdom, however, he is met with human ignorance, fear and rejection. Luis Bunuel, the greatest filmmaker who ever lived, tells a story that is basically about Jesus Christ in a modern setting; the film lets us know that as much as we think ourselves to be such morally upstanding Christians today, we too would reject true holiness if it came among us. Thankfully, Bunuel gives us this message in a non-heavyhanded way, making sure that his usual dollop of sly humour and wit are as much a part of the story as the political content.