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Susana - (Mr Bongo Films) (1951) [DVD]
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Susana (Rosita Quintana) finds her desperate prayers answered when she escapes from Mexico's State Reformatory and lands up at a country ranch. Offered a second chance, she's accepted as a maid by the Guadalupe family; her beauty making her an inescapable object of desire to the men of the house. All of them - the uncouth ranch foreman Jesús (Luis Lopez Somoza), the Guadalupe patriarch (Fernando Soler) and his bookish son Alberto (Victor Manuel Mendoza) are ensnared by her mere presence in their stifling middle-class home. Thrilled by the power she wields over the men, Susana manipulates her admirers against each other in the hope that the fittest survivor would provide her with the best comforts.
Made in Mexico in 1951, Susana is filled with the characteristic touches and familiar motifs of Luis Buñuel's body of work. Class tension and sexual repression is revealed beneath the rational façade of the conventional nuclear family. The film's subversion of religious iconography and its uses of animal metaphors for basic human drives reveal the bold style of L Âge d'Or and Diary of a Chambermaid.
A stinging assault on Mexico's rich and religious, in particular their indolence and hypocrisy --Radio Times
Made by the master in Mexico...'Susana'' is full of the sort of Bunuelian touches that forever separate all of Bunuel's films from those of everyone else --New York Times
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Top Customer Reviews
The story begins when Susana is trown into a cell in a reformatory (which looks like a prison). In a moment of fear, she pleads to God for a way out, which she soon finds. She excapes her imprisionment on that rainy and stormy night and finds her way onto a ranch. There, she plays coy at times and does all she can to make another fall for her the rest of the time. But she doesn't limit herself to one target - one of the chief ranch workers, the owner of the ranch and even the owner's son are all her targets.
Luis Buñuel had an amazing skill as a director and watching Susana will make one appreciate his talent. As we try to figure out what Susana will try next, while we wonder who she really is, it is hard not to be taken in by this story with timeless appeal. Although the plot is simple enough for everyone to appreciate, there is also symbolism and surrealism present, if one looks for them. Susana is a great film and one that I would recommend to all audiences.
I am thoroughly exhausted after watching this film ... but in a good way.
I thought the acting on Susana's part was absolutely amazing ... she inhabited two completely different characters simultaneously, the meek and humble young woman who would not let butter melt in her mouth and Susana the Siren who, with one sultry glance renders the hearts of men into chaos.
Susana (The Devil And The Flesh) is not a Film Noir but it does revolve around the classic Femme Fatale characterisation and in fact, almost attains a Shakespearean quality as a morality tale. Father is set against son, and husband against wife, within the whirlwind of jealousy conjured up by Susana to suit her ruthless ambition to run the household and have cast out anyone who stands in her way.
Very soon in the story it becomes clear why Susana was locked away in a reformatory as she demonstrates what can be achieved by a seemingly irresistible and manipulative woman who recognises no boundaries and no one, however good or principled, can escape unscathed as she burns across the screen.
The quality of the print is primitive and to modern eyes the film appears theatrical and at times it threatens to resemble old-time farce - but there are enough of Bunuel's surrealistic touches to make Susana rewarding and memorable, and of course there is the presence of Rosita Quintata which remains intriguing and powerful.