What Do Animals Have To Do With It?

         Luis Buñuel, director of Los Abismos de Pasion, based on Emily Brontë's 1847 Wuthering Heights, decided to use animals throughout the film for the purposes of foreshadow. The birds, the butterflies, and the insect were all wild animals that were innocently slaughtered. Each of them represents a relationship that is soon to die.

         The movie begins with Catalina (played by Irasema Dilian) shooting and killing birds. At first glance it does not seem relevant to the story line. But Buñuel may have wanted to give his audience a clue as to what was coming. Just like the birds, Eduardo (played by Earnesto Alonso) does not see his morbid fate approaching. Just as fast as a bullet, Alejandro (played by Jorge Mistral) reappears into Catalina's life; and, even though Eduardo sees it coming, it is too late for him not to get hurt. Catalina kills her relationship with her husband and does not care about how badly she hurts him.

         Directly following the opening scene where Catalina shots the birds, Eduardo is inside piercing the body of a butterfly. Eduardo possesses many different types of butterflies for his collection. Catalina does not approve of his doing this; but he says that they do not feel it; it is the quickest way for them to die. This could symbolize what Eduardo will do to Catalina. He wants to keep this beautiful being for himself, and he can only do so when she is dead. Catalina is clear and straightforward about her love for Alejandro, yet Eduardo would rather her suffer in order to be solely his. He desires to display a beautiful and perfect marriage for everyone to see, but that is not what he gets.

         Towards the end of the movie, there is a scene that shows a black spider killing its prey. Black spiders are often viewed as morbid, and this case is no exception. This scene is a foreshadowing of Catalina's death. The black spider takes the insect's life, just as Alejandro takes Catalina's. Alejandro waits patiently and then makes his move. Catalina could not survive the pain that Alejandro has caused her. She dies helplessly in her prey's arms.

         Just like the animals in the movie, each one of these characters has been meant to be free but someone or something stronger than themselves captures them before they could fly away.

Allison Webster

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