4 September 2018 | dbdumonteil
In search of lost time
This looks like a Mexican western ,but it is not ,or at a pinch a crepuscular one ...People fond of eventful stories will not find something in it.
The hero is pursued by fate ,since the very beginning:when he is released from jail ,we see walking across a dreary land though the bars of a window cell;when he arrives in the cantina and meets his old friend ,they say :"we're ripe for the grim reaper ";he puts on glasses , he is not the dashing young man he used to be but a jaded faded middle-age man ;when he is with his former flame,Mariana (Marga Lopez ,the only star known in Europe for Bunuel's masterpiece "Nazarin" ),he takes the socks from her and begins to knit (I have learned that in jail");she married a man she did not really love and now she is a widow and she has lost her illusions :they spoilt their past (18 years ) and now all that they can hope for is to share their old age ;hoping against hope ,the ex-con wants to rebuild his house and to reconcile with the sons of the man he killed .
He killed the man in a duel ,but to both brothers ,it's a murder ,and they,too,are pursued by fate : it's a matter of honor , revenge is always due.It becomes an idee fixe and no inhabitants from the village (favorably disposed towards the ex-con)will be able to convince them;however one of them begins to like him ;you even feel in the last scenes that he considers him a substitute father;but his brother will not hear of it .
The director was certainly influenced by Luis Bunuel ,were it only for the attention to details (the glasses,the watch ,the knitting, the place where the young men' s pa is buried),but there's neither sexual symbols nor hints at religion ;humor is absent.
That said ,it is a faux western ,which tells a classic tale we've been though a hundred times or more, but treated in an unexpected way,;actually,only the last scenes recall the usual showdown ;the rest consists of people trying to pick up the pieces (the hero, both women,the inhabitants,and ultimately ,one of the sons) and two brothers whose duty is to shed blood to avenge a father's death.Its slow action can repel some ,but carry on,the movie will grow on you.