‘Buñuel en el laberinto de las tortugas’, the story of a beautiful friendship inside the cinema

Salvador Simó, director of ‘Buñuel en el laberinto de las tortugas’

21/10/2019.- The Spanish Cinema section screened on Monday 21 October the feature film “Buñuel en el laberinto de las tortugas” by Salvador Simó. A film about the friendship between Luis Buñuel and Ramón Acín which tells the story of the filming of the documentary Las Hurdes. Tierra sin pan. It is an adaptation of the graphic novel by Fermín Solís “looking at the story from another side”. In the comic, Luis Buñuel appears represented as a bad person, that is why, when the comic illustrator gave them free rein, they decided to tell their version of that story.

Although it is based on a true event, the filming of Las Hurdes, there are is not much documentation on what actually happened there. This film is a dramatic representation of what might have happened from the scriptwriters’ point of view. Salvador Simó has explained that “it is fiction, there will be people who agree and people who don’t, and both are justified since what happened in Las Hurdes is unknown,” the filmmaker has said in the subsequent talk with the public.

Using animation, the filmmakers have tried to show those times through the values people had and what was thought, being faithful to the society of that time. Regarding the style they chose for the film, animation, Salvador has said that “there is a lot of work behind trying to make everything in the film sincronised with the story”. The movements are rougher since it is a rough story, they could not make smooth animation, like Disney, since it would not have worked. Also, the images of Luis Buñuel himself, included in the feature film give a reality touch to the event.

The director has assured that in this film “there are moments in which you really like Luis Buñuel and other in which you really dislike him but this is due to him having been a very contradictory man and that is a great virtue, since it allows to describe him from many angles.” In the story, through the concept of dreams, they have been able to access Luis Buñuel’s subconscious, which tells us about his origins; how his childhood marked him. The trip to Las Hurdes was also to get away from the burden of his friend Dali’s visual surrealism and find his own way.

The documentary was a turning point for Buñuel, he went from a visual surrealism to one based on the way the human being behaves. Simó has affirmed that “this man has always tried to be very transgressive, changing the world through provoking people, making them think.” “In Buñuel’s films there is always something that we do not understand and when we start thinking, the world starts improving in some way,” he added.

This feature film has made history since it is the first time that an animation film has been preselected to represent Spain at the Oscars. Salvador Simó has said that it “is a great price for the animation industry in this country, since from every point of view animation is being taken more seriously, not only was something for children”.

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