What It's Like to Kiss Luis

         There is no denying the passion one will find in the film Los Abismos de Pasion of 1954, as directed by Luis Buñuel. The script of the film was a Mexican-inspired version of Emily Brontë's 1847 Wuthering Heights. Throughout the film, beginning with the marital strife of Eduardo and Catalina and continuing until the eventual though abrupt demise of Alejandro, Buñuel delivers a knockout blow of lusty proportions. Simply put, it is the single greatest Mexican soap opera have yet to ever feast my eyes upon. Yes, it is true, many have considered the film tawdry, in part because of its overabundant corniness; but it was exactly this corniness that intoxicated me from the very beginning--perhaps such corniness became so distilled as to turn to moonshine.

         The film may make you giggle, for it most certainly will not make you cry; but, in contrast to the other films which were also based upon the same Brontë novel and which we had the opportunity to view in class, I must admit that Buñuel's film version carries with it much of the same emotional intensity as displayed by such responsive actors as Brontë would have most likely wished to have been displayed through her own characters as found in Wuthering Heights. Now, if you will, you may recall the passage where I declared Buñuel's film as nothing but a Mexican soap opera, though the greatest of its genre, but would you not also consider Brontë's novel as a soap opera of sorts? I do not mean to degrade the literary merits of Wuthering Heights, but certainly it is a tale of hapless romance, and at times, the character's actions may even be construed as melodramatic.

         To have received a kiss from Buñuel must have been like receiving an innocent peck from Count Dracula. Why else would Buñuel's allow Jorge Mistral, who played Alejandro, to nearly ravish Irasema Dilian and Lilia Prado, the actors respectively playing Catalina and Isabel? It is exactly this intensity--this passion--bestowed upon the film through the director that makes this film worth watching. Other cinematic adaptations of Brontë's Wuthering Heights, as filmed in America and Great Britain, were greatly encumbered by the censorship of their day. Buñuel takes every liberty possible with filming in Mexico to shock our senses.

John Couris

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