Land Without Bread
There are numerous ethnographic surrealist films that have an intriguing relationship to aesthetics and politics. A film that exemplifies this relationship is “Las Hurdes: Tierra Sin Pan” (Land Without Bread). This film is only 27-minutes and is directed by the infamous Luis Bunuel in 1933. Bunuel was a Spanish filmmaker of the 1920’s to the 1970’s. He is often attributed to being one of the major contributors to the surrealist movement of the 1920’s. “Ethnographic surrealism is a utopian construct, a statement at once about past and future possibilities for cultural analysis.”(Clifford, 119) ‘Land Without Bread’ has a clear connection between politics and aesthetics. It uses many techniques, specifically …show more content…
The film immediately generated controversy in Spain where “it was banned first by the Republican government and later by the fascists” (Lastra, 52). It was banned to due its forward condemnation of church and capital, as well as the “dehumanization and repudiation of its subjects.”(Lastra, 52) It is clear that the film has a strong political theme. Lastra states that “Las Hurdes has been praised as a scathing and straight forward condemnation of church and capital”(Lastra, 52) and that “Franco, Hitler, and Mussolini are blamed directly for the misery depicted in the film.”(Lastra, 54). It is apparent that Bunuel was concerned with showing the squalor of a people ignored by a careless pre-Franco regime. On the most superficial level, the film defines some aspects of life in a mountainous region of Spain. On a second level, it stages a passionate attack against several hegemonic institutions of Western civilization, in particular the Catholic Church, but also the educational system and private property.
Bunuel came to believe that the cultures they represented were worth taking seriously as more than just objects of appropriation. He identified what he saw as a Surrealist tendency to ‘use’ bourgeois society’s ‘others’ to negate the cultural status quo while never giving these others