Tag Archives: Buñuel

Day Six – Ten Films in Ten Days: Ensayo de un crimen/ The Criminal Life of Archibaldo de la Cruz

The Criminal Life of Archibaldo de la Cruz

Day 6:
I was nominated by Andrew Grimes Griffin – One movie a day for 10 days. The no explanation bit is annoying people so: The Concordia Conservatoire ran a retrospective of Buñuel films in the early/mid 1980s. I remember packing a thermos and sandwiches because I wanted to see them all and one never knew then when one would get another chance. This experience taught me the value of seeng a director´s films in chronological order, one begins to notice styles that change and develop, one begins to recognise groupings of actors that seem to inhabit and characterise a particular director´s work, themes and approaches, in Buñuel the black corrosive humour, the attitudes to religion, the Surrealism not only of particular scenes but as an approach that envelops all his work. One begins to love even the weaker films, and seeing each becomes inhabiting the world of that particular narrative but also the world of Buñuel, a world within a world.. I could have chosen any of his films really. This one´s stayed with me because of the dummy and the leg, so wittily deployed later by Almodóvar in the opening scenes of Live Flesh.

Margarita Lozano in A Fistful of Dollars

Seeing a restored version of A Fistful of Dollars a few days ago at the BFI on a big screen was a gorgeous experience. The Morricone score, the melodrama, the sweep of the camera, a young Clint Eastwood. It’s almost like a great silent film of the 1920s but with bits of dialogue and a great score. Beautiful print also. fistful

Part of the thrill of watching A Fistful of Dollars was recognising Margarita Lozano as Consuelo Baxter, the matriarch of the Baxter clan. She gives a great, controlled performance. Why isn’t more made of her presence and her performance in A Fistful of Dollars? There are only two women in the film, the other being Marianne Koch as Consuelo. And for those who know their film history Lozano is a cinema immortal, the mousy maid who gets pounced on in Luis Buñuel’s Viridiana. You’d think  an actress who’s made classics with Buñuel, Leone, the Taviani Brothers (Good Morning Babylon, The Night of the Shooting Stars), Pasolini (Porcile), Claude Berri (Jean de Florette) and so many others would at least rate more of  a mention. Is it xenophobia or is Brexit just making me paranoid?


José Arroyo