on 24 December 2006
Ok, where to start. These films are designed, in much the same way as Un Chien Andalou was, to shock. By today's standards their methods are crude but that doesn't make them unentertaining. Viva La Muerte is the story of a young boy's relationship with his mother after his father has been imprisoned for treason. There are a lot of dream sequences (filmed on primitive video in psychedelic colours) which are explicit coments on religion, war and sexuality. There's also scenes of animals being killed which, in context, adds to the surreal feel of this film. I'm dubious as to how this film fulfils surrealist principles as it all seems pretty coherent (perhaps that's just the way my mind works). To say this film is enjoyable is difficult but some of the images are truly beautiful in a repulsive way. Some of the anti-religion symbols are a bit clumsy now but take this film in context and it can be forgiven. I enjoyed 'I will walk like a crazy horse' the most out of the three films here. Again there's the relationship with the protagonist's mother examined but there's also more of a surreal slant in the same style as Jodorowsky's 'El Topo'. The protagonist goes on the run in the desert and has a life changing experience in there which affects the rest of the film. Quite a few distrubing images in this one involving the infamous shootiing of a child but within the context of the film this isn't as explicit as it sounds. I found 'The Guernica Tree' the least satisfying of the three, mainly because it seems like two films spliced together. The beginning has the same surrealist slant but it gets mired in the war film that it ultimately becomes. It did draw attention to how skillful makers of war films have to be as the shooting and bombing just gets boring as this goes on with very little dialogue for about 40 minutes. Again there's attacks on religion and sexuality but I feel this one is by far the weakest of the three. Overall a very interesting and enjoyable few hours of surrealist film making.