BuÑuel’s Prisoners

Ramon Gieling

The Netherlands 2000, .73 min.

Buñuel’s Prisoners received its world premiere at the International Film Festival in Rotterdam just a few weeks ahead of the centennial celebration of Luis Buñuel’s birthday in February. Although there is nothing wrong with the timing, it is regrettable that Buñuel himself hardly surfaces in Gieling’s film.

Buñuel’s Prisoners is primarily a film about a film: Buñuel’s Las Hurdes, tierra sin pan (Land Without Bread), shot back in 1932. In this very controversial documentary – or “mockumentary” as some will have it – Buñuel portrayed the mountainous Las Hurdes of western Spain as an inbred, diseased and poverty-ridden area waging a ‘desperate fight against the hostile forces of nature’. Not a pretty picture.


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