Luis Buñuel directs Georges Marchal, Simone Signoret and Michel Piccoli in this adventure movie where, after a revolt, the citizens of a mining town in South America go on the run in the jungle.
The biggest surprise about Buñuel Technicolor drama? What a solid traditional action movie it is. Very much in the spirit of Huston’s The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, Hitchcock’s Lifeboat or Clouzot’s The Wages of Fear. The first act establishes the characters as they snooker themselves into being hounded by the corrupt military and experience a violent revolution first hand. Then we are lost in the jungle and those well defined types destroy themselves – their beliefs and their sins – in an unforgiving green inferno. Here Buñuel indulges in his expected surrealism; a mute girl’s hair entangled in the vines, a snake’s meat writhing under the duress of an army of ants, Signoret’s fallen woman emerging from the overgrowth in full glamorous evening gown. It starts off like a dirty joke… “A priest, a whore and a cowboy get lost in the jungle…”…. and ends like the book of Genesis. The two purest survivors leaving the Garden of Eden, no longer innocent but knowledgeable of a better life.
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