Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB.
Spain, 1967. Elías Querejeta Producciones Cinematográficas S.L.. Story by Carlos Saura, Screenplay by Rafael Azcona, Angelino Fons, Carlos Saura. Cinematography by Luis Cuadrado. Produced by Elías Querejeta. Music by Luis De Pablo. Production Design by Emilio Sanz de Soto. Costume Design by Angelines Castro. Film Editing by Pablo G. del Amo.
This film first entered notoriety when it was due to be screened at the 1968 Cannes Film Festival, until director Carlos Saura and star Geraldine Chaplin, in solidarity with the outcry to cancel the festival in support of the strikes and uprisings that marked May of that year in France, physically held the curtain closed over the screen in an attempt to prevent its being shown (which they did successfully, and the festival was officially canceled the next afternoon). The film itself is a light take on Buñuel, about a doctor (José Luis López Vázquez) who falls madly in love with his best friend’s new young wife (Chaplin) and in his inability to express it, instead takes his sexual frustration out on his docile nurse (also played by Chaplin). The sarcastic manner in which Saura takes on masculine ego makes for humorous rebellion against Franco-era Spain, his hero blissfully unaware that his obsession with the woman is obvious to her, while equally blind to the fact that his treatment of the other woman crosses into abuse. Much as Saura maintains a light touch on the material without ever spilling the satire into full blown farce, though, his characters are not particularly captivating and Chaplin is not fully convincing as both women, it’s more that she’s having fun playing dress-up as two different people than really embodying the opposite ends of the Madonna/whore dichotomy that the director is lampooning.
Berlin Film Festival Award: Best Director (Carlos Saura)
Cannes Film Festival: In Competition