The Criminal Life of Archibaldo de la Cruz

(Ensayo de un crimen)


Ernesto Alonso, Miroslava Stern, Rita Macedo, Ariadna Welter,

Handed the project of filming Rodolfo Usigli’s novel, Luis Buñuel interpreted the hero as “a typical case of social parasitism,” to the consternation of the author. As a child, Archibaldo believed he had killed his governess with the magical powers of a music box. The mild-mannered adult Archibaldo still believes he can slay women and confesses to several murders he did not commit in search of that elusive erotic childhood sensation. The repeated frustration of his sadistic intentions provides the core of this black comedy. (“If we had to arrest everyone who thinks about murdering others, the jails would be overflowing,” says the chief of police matter-of-factly). Like his more diabolical counterpart, Francisco, in Él, Archibaldo is the product of religious and sexual repression, but he is also a naive surrealist for whom fantasy and reality are one. The film’s happy ending only underscores Buñuel’s pessimism.

Judy Bloch
  • Luis Buñuel
  • Eduardo Ugarte
Based On
  • a novel by Rodolfo Usigli

  • Agustín Jiménez
  • Spanish
  • with English subtitles
Print Info
  • B&W
  • 35mm
  • 91 mins
  • Kino Lorber

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