19 July 2020 18:33
The career of director Luis Buñuel was very nearly over before it had even begun. The failure of his first feature, L'Age d'Or, a surrealist comedy made with Salvador Dalí, left him penniless and reviled. But then a sympathetic friend, the sculptor Ramón Acín, bought a lottery ticket and promised to fund Buñuel's next film if it won. Miraculously, it did. This animation tells of the making of Las Hurdes (Land Without Bread), a documentary portrait of "the most miserable place in Spain".
Based on a graphic novel by Fermín Solis, it blends pleasing 2D animation with shots from the actual film to striking effect. With its dust and sherry-toned colour palette and starkly angular character design, it will intrigue animation fans. The film does not, however, paint Buñuel in a particularly flattering light: he is cavalier about friendships, insensitive to suffering and positively enthusiastic when it comes to animal cruelty.