Los Animales

         While watching the 1954 film Los Abismos de Pasion, directed by Luis Buñuel and based on Emily Brontë's 1847 Wuthering Heights, I was utterly amazed at the symbolism that the director utilized throughout the film. Prior to watching the film, Mrs. Roulston raised this issue and asked us the viewers to watch for such. I did indeed see that the plight of the movies' animals and humans were similar in many ways.

         In the opening of the movie Catalina, played by Irasema Dilian, is shown proudly killing buzzards in her own backyard. She does such with an apparent lack of a sympathetic grimace for the dead birds. She is not killing the birds for valuable food but rather just for the sport of watching the victims drop down from their free flight in the above sky. In the movie Catalina appears to also get great deals of pleasure watching her sister-in-law, Isabella, lose the joy she once had in her life.

         Isabella, played by Lilia Prado, stupidly marries Alejandro and gives up a great life for one that she absolutely hates. Her life with Alejandro, depicted by Jorge Mistrel, sucks the life right out of her; and she becomes like a prisoner to him. Isabella's sincere sweetness is apparent when there is a slaughtering scene in the film. Isabella and her family are present while a pig is being slaughtered for them. The others watch on as the pig is bludgeoned to death, but Isabella cannot watch such and turns her head away in disgust and horror.

         Eduardo, portrayed by Ernesto Alonso, is shown preying over his precious collection of moths and butterflies. He displays each with a stabbed pin in between their beautiful wings. The pin is right through where one would think the soul would be, if butterflies had such. The viewer can relate his fascination with his collection to his entrapment of his wife, Catalina. Eduardo seems to be pleased in his awareness that Catalina is really in love with Alejandro but feels that she has no choice but to stay with her husband.

         In one scene of the movie, Catalina is shown cooing over her pet bird that is trapped in a cage in the middle of the living room. She says that she loves that bird. It is quite ironic that she loves that helpless caged bird, but she absolutely hates the way that she is caged herself in her and Eduardo's home. Catalina would much rather be able to escape and run away with Alejandro.

         I found myself countless times mistaking the helplessness of the animals and insects for that of the human characters in the film. The director appropriately closes the film with another great example through the use of insects and humans. Catalina's brother, Ricardo (Luis Aceves Castaneda), another heartless character, is shown catching a moth and then throwing it in a spider's web. The viewer can see the spider fast approaching its fresh prey and can really see how manipulated things can be in human and non-human life.

Tiffany Pitman

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