British Literature, the Mexican Way

         In Buñuel's 1954 Mexican version of Emily Brontë's 1847 book, Wuthering Heights, Los Abismos de Pasion, there were many differences and some similarities between what was written in the book between the Mexican cultures. There are two things that stick out between the book and the movie. One difference would be that the main characters, Catherine (Catalina) (Irasema Dilian) and Heathcliff (Alejandro) (Jorge Mistral) are the only ones that die in the movie, whereas in the novel they do die, but so does both brothers and most everyone else and the other would be a very close similarity. In my opinion, where the movie stays true to the nature and love that is between the Catherine and Heathcliff characters in the film and in the novel.

         The Catherine and Heathcliff characters in the film both die, which is good for what the film was trying to portray. Usually in Hispanic culture, the "romantic" or "Latino love" is expected or shown. For example, it would not be surprising if the two characters, tragically in a love/hate in relationship did the tango and then had wild sexually relations on some Riviera and then a sword fight would be the next scene where the hero dies and the heroine lives in a beautiful world with a lustful memory of her great love. The ending was like that in the fact that in death, they lived together, but in the novel, Heathcliff had to suffer more when Catherine died until he died.

         So, by not having others characters around but only the next generation and the older generation of servants that had raised them around, Heathcliff had to endure sorrow and practically helplessness till he finally met Catherine in death. This too is romantic, but, for the Mexican or Latino culture, it was not quite fitting to have so many pass away, but rather have the two lovers pass away not too far apart from each other, in time frame and live beyond death.

         The movie kept really close to the nature and love of Catherine and Heathcliff in the novel. The Latino culture is excellent with love, romance, and lover's quarrels, which I know from having been to Mexico and Brazil myself. In the novel, there is definitely the love, romance, and quarreling, along with the gothic-ness of life and death type love. The novel describes the death, and the encounter with Catherine after death well and the movie, better than the American one, parallels best with that concept.

         What can best be said about the movie in comparison with the novel is that Ms. Brontë must have had a Latino friend or she herself knew how to incorporate an excellent world of fictional society and tragedy with Riviera romance. It is just pure brilliance.

Sarah Hurley

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