15 June 2020 | brogmiller
Heigh-ho........A-hunting we will go.
This third feature of Carlos Saura is the one that put him on the map internationally. Made twenty-seven years after the end of the Spanish Civil War and with almost ten years of Franco's regime remaining this powerful film reeks of death and oppression.
It concerns four mucho macho men who meet up to enjoy the manly pursuit of rabbit hunting! As they begin stalking their quarry they begin to fan out as if on patrol. Three of these men are no strangers to patrols as they are veterans of the Civil War who fought for Franco and the area in which they have chosen to hunt is where some of the bitterest battles were fought. The fourth is the son of a former Falangist who has his father's German Luger to prove it. We soon realise that this hunt is merely a substitute for the real thing. As one of them casually observes: 'the best hunt is a manhunt'!
Many rabbits are successfully slaughtered but when one of the hunters shoots a ferret belonging to a local peasant the fragile cameraderie begins to unravel with devastating consequences........
This brutal piece is not an easy watch by any means but intensely gripping nonetheless thanks to Saura's taut direction, extensive use of close ups, Luis Cuadrado's stunning cinematography and the uniformly excellent performances. The bleached, barren landscape heightens the films effectiveness.
Apparently this film had a profound influence on a certain Sam Peckinpah. Well, it would, wouldn't it!