- LA Caza
- The Hunt (1966)Together with Nueve cartas a Berta (Nine Letters to Berta, Basilio Martín Patino, 1966), Carlos Saura's La caza is the most representative film of the mid-1960s cycle that came to be known as Nuevo cine español. Thematically, it reflected the disaffection of the new generation for the Franco regime, and it also gestured toward the past as a wound on Spanish culture, in its portrayal of a group of four friends from two generations (Alfredo Mayo; Ismael Merlo; José María Prada, whose characters had experience of the war; and the younger Emilio Gutiérrez Caba) who go on a trip to hunt rabbits on a barren landscape and do so congenially until hidden tensions come to the surface and violence erupts. The film hints at unresolved conflict in the sparse dialogue, as well as in the iconic presence of Mayo, who had played Francisco Franco's alter ego in Raza and had become a star in the 1940s for his roles as an army hero.Aesthetically, it was inspired by new European cinemas, making central use of metaphors and strong imagery that went beyond narrative needs: the heat that drives characters to madness could be read in terms of the stifling atmosphere created in the country after the Civil War, and the butchery was easily read as a reference to the conflict itself. The rabbits shot at mercilessly by the hunters have been read as Republican rebel fighters, and the inspiration may have come from the rabbit hunting sequence in Jean Renoir's Rules of the Game (1939), in which the issue was the class divide in prewar France. Hunting, on the other hand, has recurrently been associated with the Franco regime, and the association is prominent 10 years later in Berlanga's La escopeta nacional (1978). The sun-drenched landscape (perfectly realized in Luis Cuadrado's photography) has dark caves (as well as warrens), pointing at hidden areas of the national subconscious.The film was produced by Elias Querejeta (the first in a long collaboration with Saura), one of the main forces of Nuevo cine español, whose personality and preference for symbol-driven films dominate Spanish art films in the 1960s and the 1970s. His and Saura's approach has been described as "hermetic," and privileging hidden meanings was both the sign of a passion for images rather than stories and an attempt to circumvent the obstacles set up by the censors.See also Censorship.
Historical dictionary of Spanish cinema. Alberto Mira. 2010.