Friday, May 14, 2010

Luis Buñuel

Land Without Bread (Las Hurdes: Tierra Sin Pan) by Luis Buñuel (1933) is a strange survey of rural poverty in Spain. Buñuel portrays people living in a mountainous region, Las Hurdes, that parallels Appalachia in its remoteness (and attendant negative stereotyping). Buñuel's images of Hurdano dwellings and families call to mind documentary photographs from the Great Depression in the homes of sharecroppers, migrants, and miners in the United States. Buñuel emphatically shows children to be poorly cared-for: barefoot, hungry, and ignorant. Moreover, a scene with deformed men (second and third stills) suggests that they were the product of inbreeding. Their depiction as over-the-top as the "dueling banjos" scene in John Boorman's feature film, Deliverance.
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Documentary Starts Here by Nancy Kalow is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.