Why the Pig Squeals

         In cultural film adaptations a director must take into consideration the altering and thus submerging the whole story and its elements into that culture. If this is successfully done, the audience in a culture can identify with the characters and develop an emotional connection with them while watching the film. This was partially done with director Luis Buñuel's 1954 film, Los Abismos de Pasion, a Spanish adaptation of Emily Brontė's 1847 Wuthering Heights. He brought many elements from the Hispanic culture into the film to bring a more realism for the targeted audience. One of the main essentials elements that he brought into the film for the Hispanic community to identify with the film is religion and cultural ethics.

         A large majority of Hispanics are strict Catholic and strongly believe that there are signs everywhere, showing them their destiny. Director Luis Buñuel used this to his advantage to have identification elements in order for his audience to make emotional connection possible. The identification elements are the many instances of animal imagery, which are the "signs" to foreshadow what there is to come for each character, the character's destiny at play before it happens within the film. The pig squealing and suffering until dead, and the moth being dragged by the spider into the web hole are very good examples of this. The pig can resemble Isabel's (Lilia Prado) future, where she will be mentally and emotionally tortured till his death by Alejandro (Jorge Mistral). The spider taking the moth into its web funnel to eat it, also can resemble Ricardo (Luis Aceves Castenada) in the future trapping of Alejandro at the right moment and killing him in Catalina's (Irasema Dilian) tomb with a shot gun. These images are very vivid and purposely laid out for the audience to take notice.

         The cultural ethics in a film are needed when doing an adaptation. This is done to make the story more believable. Cultural ethics are something that is believed in a particular culture; basically way things should be in society such as how honor is proceeding. Some of the Hispanic culture ethics in the Los Abismos de Pasion are evident when Alejandro shows sexual passion while kissing Isabel on the neck to make Catalina jealous and when Ricardo kills Alejandro with a hidden gun to demonstrate his cowardice. These ethics may be ridiculous to the American audience because it is not how we were brought up to think and believe, but at that time it was the way for the Hispanic culture. This tactic of incorporating cultural ethics was another necessity for the film to be successful by allowing the Hispanics to understand, identify, and connect with the characters, and story.

         At last, the film Los Abismos de Pasion is a good example of culture adaptation for its cinematic audience. It shows that the film makers must change the perspective on what and how things are presented, so that the audience can relate to the story and be submerged in a cinematic world for a couple of hours or so. Effective use of these cultural alterations can make enhance a film's value to the target audience as a whole. That is exactly what Luis Buñuel did for Los Abismos de Pasion.

Shanah Zigler

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