Land Without Bread

According to Wikipedia, Luis Buñuel is "one of the most important directors in the history of cinema." His most notorious film is the 1929 Un chien andalou (An Andalusian Dog) which includes the infamous scene of a woman's eyeball being sliced with a razor in slow-motion. This is the one film of his that the professor discussed in the film class I took in college.

Much less well-known is his 1932 Las Hurdes: Tierra Sin Pan (Land without bread). The film is a short travelogue about the poverty-stricken Las Hurdes region of Spain. What makes the film unusual is that as one scene of misery after another appears onscreen, the narration proceeds in a "flat and disinterested manner" and Brahms's Symphony No. 4 plays as background music. Some historians argue that the film was actually the very first mockumentary, parodying the documentary form.

The film can be seen in its entirety on YouTube, but not in English. I'm not sure if there is an English-language version of it. The only scene in English I could find was the one below, in which a goat supposedly trips and falls off a cliff. In reality, Buñuel's crew shot the goat and threw its body down the cliff. This was in the days before PETA. YouTube includes a "Warning: Animal Abuse" label with the excerpt. As a student of the weird, I've become pretty much shockproof, but if the sight of a goat plummeting down a cliff will disturb you, you might want to skip the video.

Posted By: Alex - Fri Oct 10, 2008
Category: Animals, Movies, Documentaries





Comments
Alex, you need to read more of Chuck's stuff if you think a goat taking flight over a cliff is going to upset this crew. But PETA would have been a better choice for the falling over the cliff scene.
Posted by Expat47 in Athens, Greece on 10/10/08 at 11:27 AM
Alex, Chuck posted a slide show on ritual circumcision in Uganda and your worried about a goat falling off of a cliff...in black & white no less. Don't sweat the small stuff man!
Posted by Madd Maxx on 10/10/08 at 01:01 PM
Actually it would bother me so thanks for the warning!
Do anything you want to people, I can watch it - look the wrong way at an animal and I can't take it.
Can't help it, just the way I am.
Posted by Jules in Connecticut on 10/10/08 at 03:11 PM
Expat47 -- as a guy who's written a book titled "Elephants on Acid" I've recently been on the receiving end of some of the vitriol that the PETA crowd can pour out. My protest that I didn't conduct the experiment, I simply wrote about it (and what I wrote doesn't exactly heap praise on it), doesn't seem to appease them. So now I'm very careful to post lots of warnings before I link to anything that might, in any way, be construed as cruel to animals.
Posted by Alex on 10/10/08 at 10:25 PM
Big Gary -- I'm probably wrong about the scene being in slow motion. It just SEEMED like slow motion to me.
Posted by Alex on 10/10/08 at 10:30 PM
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