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From L'Age d'or to El dia de la Bestia: Between the Ideal and the Unspeakable

By Sheldon C. Penn


That Álex de la Iglesia’s El día de la Bestia (1995) is reminiscent in spirit of Buñuel’s work has not gone unnoticed. The director himself comments on how Claude Chabrol had said to him at the Venice Film Festival that ‘a Don Luis le hubiera encantado’, and this feeling is echoed by de la Iglesia’s interviewer (Ordóñez 1997, p. 69). In the same\ud volume, de la Iglesia discusses his admiration for Buñuel, particularly in relation to the Mexican films of the 1950s and 1960s. Rather than stating overtly how Buñuel has influenced him as a director, de la Iglesia comments on the extreme effect that the films provoked in him as a spectator: ‘Ese nivel de locura creativa de Buñuel atraviesa\ud sus películas y te contagia. Yo no puedo ver Los olvidados o El ángel [exterminador]. No puedo verlas ENTERAS. Me ponen la piel de gallina, es una intensidad insoportable’ (Ordóñez 1997, p. 69). For de la Iglesia, Buñuel’s Mexican cinema has a paradoxical and perverse attraction. As a spectator he is enthralled and unhealthily compelled by what he sees (‘te contagia’) but at the same time cannot bring himself to keep watching. The reaction might be defined as a blend of desire and repulsion, and\ud as such comes close to the pathology of the obsessive

Year: 2005
DOI identifier: 10.1080/14701840500127420
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