Thursday, April 25, 2013

77. Las Hurdes/Land Without Bread (1933)

Running Time: 27 minutes
Directed By: Luis Bunuel
Written By: Luis Bunuel, Rafael Sanchez Ventura
Main Cast: (voice): Abel Jacquin


Another one that I initially had to skip, during my days of moving in strict chronology, "Las Hurdes" finally stopped eluding me when I tracked it down via the interwebs, sometime last year. The film is a short documentary by Luis Bunuel - one that wasn't awful, as I kind of expected.

The film was shot in the village of Las Hurdes, a small impoverished village in Spain, where the the inhabitants literally have to struggle just to eat, drink, stay healthy and ultimately survive. It's only twenty-seven minutes long, so we get shots of the village's only drinking source - a small stream, used by everyone for drinking and bathing. The title, "Land Without Bread", comes from the fact that, at the time of shooting, the village had just been introduced to bread and a sequence of children eating bread that they got from their teacher, at school, is included. It shows the villagers as a very primitive people, who literally use sticks as kitchen utensils and are forced to eat unripe cherries, risking dysentery.

Bunuel, who killed a calf and cut it's eye open in "An Andalusian Dog", is up to his "death to animals" tactics once again. According to the Wikipedia page for "Las Hurdes", he literally smeared a donkey with honey and allowed it to be stung to death by bees - a hard scene in the movie to watch, I won't lie. There's also a scene where a goat falls off a cliff, tumbling to it's death. You really can't blame Luis for that one, because it's not like he pushed the goat or just fell. Otherwise, the film wasn't terrible. I wouldn't go so far as to call it a must see film, but at only twenty-seven minutes long, it wasn't that difficult to sit through and most of the time I was fascinated by the primitiveness of the villagers. The copy I had, had an Englishman doing the narration, so subtitles weren't necessary. Bunuel was obviously someone who was fascinated with many different kinds of culture and ideas and that shows in "Las Hurdes". Personally, I liked it better when Bunuel started making real movies, complete with plots and everything, such as "Belle De Jour" and "The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie". Nonetheless, you can't say that Luis Bunuel wasn't a versatile film director, making short, experimental films, documentaries and purely fictional pieces, later in his career.

RATING: 4/10  Like I said, definitely not a "must see", but it's okay for what it is. If you're on the same journey I am and having trouble finding this one, just do a Google search and I'm sure you can track it down, as it's all over the place on the net.


April 25, 2013  12:16pm


  1. As you say, at least these 'interesting' Bunuel's are short.
    I think I'm going to disagree about the donkey... it didn't just fall with him having the luck to have the camera on it.. If I remember correctly, you can actually see a kick of dust from a gun shot that missed, then it keels over as if shot..

    1. Oh, I stand corrected. I kind of thought it was a little odd that they'd just HAPPEN to be there when a goat fell off the cliff, but they'd smear a donkey in honey and let it be stung to death. Thanks for the education Ray.

  2. Sorry, I meant goat..
    Well, that is what read elsewhere.. and on looking, yes, i think i can see it...


SINS OF OMISSION - Entry #66: La piscine/The Swimming Pool (1969)

Running Time: 120 minutes Directed By: Jacques Deray Written By: Jean-Claude Carriere, Jacques Deray, Alain Page Main Cast: Alain Del...