December 19th, 2006

Mexican Bus Ride

I've been watching my second, obscure, Mexican period Bunuel and it's very much better than the first- the real deal, in fact- with that disconcertingly abrupt, unmoralising take on life, death, sex and crime that makes Bunuel so remarkable. A young man has to go into town to get a lawyer to draw up his mother's will; otherwise his no-good brothers will cheat their dead sister's little boy out of his inheritance.  It's a road movie. All sorts of things happen on the way: the young man cheats on his new wife, a baby is born, a little girl dies, a bossy politician waves his pistol around and makes a fool of himself, the bus driver takes a detour to his mother's ranch so he and all his passengers can celebrate her birthday and- while they're there, enjoying the fiesta- a party of North American tourists in fezes stops by to observe the colourful ways of the local peasantry. In the end the lad gets home minutes too late. His mother is dead. So he forges a document to ensure his nephew will get his inheritance and then he and his wife walk off into the moonlight. Happy ending. It's as if Bunuel were shrugging his shoulders and saying, "well, life's like that."

As indeed, it is.