Carlos Saura Sylvia Millar - Essay

Sylvia Millar

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

Although Carlos Saura has frequently been accused of 'borrowing' from Luis Buñuel, and although he clearly pays homage to his friend and mentor in La Caza [The Hunt], the film does not set out to be a serious imitation. Saura's images on the whole are not surreal but grow organically out of the characters and landscape; this is no journey into the dreamworld of the subconscious but a finely worked psychological thriller which, without strain, can be taken as a pessimistic parable about Spanish society…. The paucity of action generates an atmosphere of listlessness and ennui: seemingly trapped by the heat and idleness of this endless day, the men are provoked into unaccustomed introspection. The telescopic sight on Luis' rifle is a sign of his ability to see further into moral realities although, too weak to face up to them, he finds oblivion in his brandy flask…. José's guilty obsession with death, indicated by the skeleton of a colleague who committed suicide, is a spectral reminder of the war and a self-inflicted reproach. His maudlin confidences are repellent to Paco, as is Juan's servility and dependence, against which Paco's killing of the ferret is a futile protest…. In this kind of merciless detail, Saura browses over the morbid weaknesses of his characters, immobilised by the self-indulgence and brutality of their class. Their only escape is through mutual destruction. The youth Enrique escapes Nemesis; and his fleeting relationship with the adolescent peasant girl Carmen might be taken as a forlorn hope for the future of democracy in Spain. (pp. 235-36)

Sylvia Millar, "Feature Films: 'La caza' ('The Hunt')," in Monthly Film Bulletin (copyright © The British Film Institute, 1975), Vol. 42, No. 502, November, 1975, pp. 235-36.