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Sunday, January 31, 2016

La Fievre Monte A El Pao (aka Fever Mounts At El Pao) (1959)

After the governor (Miguel Angel Ferriz) of a small Caribbean island is assassinated, his widow (Maria Felix) begins a love affair with his former aide (Gerard Philipe in his final film). But the island's new leader (Jean Servais) has designs on the widow himself. Against this love triangle, a mutiny brews by the victims and political prisoners of the island's corrupt regime. This little seen Luis Bunuel film uses the romantic intrigues as a front for his look at how political idealism and political corruption come into conflict. Where does one draw the line when doing the "right thing" will also cost innocent lives? Do personal ethics take precedence over love? Where does one cross the line between political maneuvering and corruption? It's almost too much and Bunuel isn't always successful in balancing everything. Philipe represents political idealism, Felix represents romance and Servais represents corruption but the lines get uncomfortably blurred. Minor Bunuel perhaps but still well worth seeing. Two years later, Bunuel would make VIRIDIANA and move to the next stage of his career.

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