An extraordinary film about the impoverished people living in the Las Hurdes region of Spain. Bunuel constructs the film in the manner of a travelogue. The absurdity of the contrast between narration and image results in a vision so powerful the film seems surreal.
After Un Chien Andalou and L’Age d’Or, Bunuel returned to Spain to make this “anthropological film,” which was quickly banned by authorities. Unlike contemporary films of the adventure-travel variety, there is an overt, even radical, discontinuity between the off-camera descriptions and scenes of the Spanish poor. With this, Bunuel wants viewers to question the authority of narrators–especially Western, colonialist ones–not revel in the otherness of so-called primitive people.