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EL (1953, MEX) – 8/10


It was this humorous drama about a sickly jealous, paranoid and possessive guy and the film in which the famous Spanish surrealist Luis Bunuel incorporated the most autobiographical elements. Although “El” or “He” was nominally based on the novel of the same name by the Spanish writer Mercedes Pinto, who, just like him, found refuge in Mexico after the civil war, Bunuel created the main character of the jealous and rich husband Francisco (Arturo de Cordova) himself. There is something of me in the protagonist, Bunuel said later, but his main inspiration for the character of Francisco was his brother-in-law, that is, the brother of his sister Conchita. And that guy, according to Bunuel’s stories, was quite paranoid, but obviously in a different way. So on one occasion, he was convinced that he saw Bunuel making ugly gestures at him on the street, and he rushed home to get a gun to kill him, until, with great difficulty, the rest of the family managed to convince him that it couldn’t have been Bunuel, because at that time he was in Zaragoza.

Francisco is paranoid in a different way here. He will become obsessed with an attractive young woman he sees at church and although Gloria (Delia Garces) is not only engaged to an acquaintance of his and seems to want nothing to do with him, once again the old adage that you don’t fuck pretty will prove true. , but persistent. He will betray Francisco Gloria to his friend, but it won’t make him too happy anyway. What their marriage looks like, we will find out from the flashbacks that the unhappy Gloria tells her former fiancé whom she met by chance.

After a while of being married to Francisco, it turns out that he is completely paranoid, obsessive and jealous and is convinced that she is cheating on him with every man she sees him in the company of. Poor Gloria can no longer live with a guy who has gone completely crazy and who is constantly harassing her, and once again it will be shown that wealth, reputation and prestige do not usually mean happiness. Although “El” by no means belongs to the top of Bunuel’s rich oeuvre, it is nevertheless an extremely interesting and humorous and subversive film, regardless of the fact that the author himself may not have been overly satisfied with what he did and claimed later that the film could have been better.