Combustible Celluloid
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With: Francisco Rabal, Rita Macedo, Marga López, Jesús Fernández, Ignacio López Tarso, Luis Aceves Castañeda, Ofelia Guilmáin, Noé Murayama, Rosenda Monteros
Written by: Luis Buñuel, Julio Alejandro, Emilio Carballido, based on a novel by Benito Pérez Galdós
Directed by: Luis Buñuel
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Language: Spanish, with English subtitles
Running Time: 94
Date: 06/04/1959

Nazarin (1959)

4 Stars (out of 4)

Casting Stones

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Luis Buñuel's Nazarin is somewhat similar to John Ford's The Fugitive (1947), which was also photographed by the great Gabriel Figueroa.

Nazarin tells the story of a priest who is defrocked because he lets a wounded prostitute spend the night in his room. He takes to the road, and is soon arrested. In the end, like Henry Fonda's priest, he questions his role in the world.

Figueroa worked with Buñuel on almost all of his Mexican films (including one of my favorites, The Exterminating Angel). Nazarin is not as showy as The Fugitive, nor as beautiful; the cinematography is still rich, but dusty. It's evenly lit, showing the little scars and dents. (Figueroa's photography is generally more at home in the outdoors; his rooms are very dark.)

Nazarin is a very straightforward film for Buñuel. We don't see a lot of his surrealist tricks (except for a "fantasy" sequence that looks like it was shot through water). Buñuel and Figueroa would later tread the same religious ground but with a nastier slant in the excellent Simon of the Desert (1965).

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