If You Thought Wyler's Wuthering Heights Was Overacted
You Have Not Seen Los Abismos de Pasion

         The 1954 adaptation of Emily Brontë's 1847 Wuthering Heights for the Spanish-speaking audiences, directed by Luis Buñuel, is one that produces a unique take on an all too common concept. What its intended audience would see as high drama translates to contemporary American audiences is a fun, campy tale of love, deception, and over the top acting. We see a Heathcliff character, Alejandro), as acted by Jorge Mistral, being so wild and passionate he is almost cartoonish. The Catherine character (Catalina), as depicted by Irasema Dilian, is cold to all but Alejandro. The supporting cast members do just that, support a film where the two leads are so over the top we have a hard time believing the story.

         The way the film was shot by the cinematographer, Agustin Jiménez., goes along well with the story's dramatic twists. As edited by Carlos Savage, the film has very quick transitions to accompany the ups and downs of the characters' emotions. These transitions are able to still be smooth even with the quick leaps that often cause films to appear jumpy. The backgrounds are vast, and the film alternates between close ups of the actors and wide shot showing the great landscapes where the film was shot.

         Though often times the audience is laughing at the film's soap opera style, the essences of Emily Brontë's characters are still there beneath the overly dramatized interpretation. We observe their emotions magnified and put on display for the world to see. Brontë's's characters allow us to have a sense of voyeurism as if we are looking into these characters' deepest feelings. We share in their joys, no matter how few and far between. We also share in their sorrows, no matter how great. The reasons this story has survived so long are the vividness of the characters, the depth to which they sink, and the sense of hope they create in themselves and us. In Los Abismos de Pasion we see the male lead, Alejandro, shot in the face in the final scene by Ricardo (Luis Aceves Castenada), but still we leave the film feeling optimistic believing that love can transcend all.

Corey McBee

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