View the following two free-online films in their entirety:
The two films directed by Luis Buñuel are presented in Spanish language audio
with English subtitles:
The Criminal Life of Archinabaldo de la Cruz – Ensayo de un Crimen (1955)
Spanish with English Subtitles
1 hour 26 minutes
Él – This Strange Passion (1953)
1 hour 31 minutes
The behavior of the lead male characters portrays a particularly absurd version of perception. The lead female characters portray a more realistic assessment of their environment and exhibit strength at some point during the storyline of each film.
Although these two films were made in Mexico during the 1950s and the director was a refugee Spaniard, these works influenced a 20th Century generation of filmmakers in the U.S. (including Chicano filmmakers) and the rest of the world.
Both films reflect on changing social norms due to the introduction of technology resulting from the Atomic Age, modernism, and post-modernism but and also dealt with issues that pertains to what is known as “20th Century angst”. Our 21st Century encounter with the COVID-19 pandemic has generated its own version of angst.
These films are considered to be absurdist comedies but also explorations into the human psyche that is confronted with new ideas related to existentialism and provincialism. The conscious and unconscious states of human thought are explored incorporated dreams, illusion, and false beliefs.
After viewing both films, consider how some of the characters are placed into situations that contribute to their demise or success.
Write about your personal observations, analysis, and responses to the notions of surrealism as expressed in both films.
Also include your ideas about how people can be persuaded to believe in false ideas or engage in actions that are not logically connected to what would best serve their purpose.
How does surrealism affect your perception of reality?
Could these ideas pertain to the effects of negative stereotypes and the role it plays affecting public perception of Chicanos?