Weird Films of the 1970s Presents: The Castle of Purity (1973)

You are a creator of utopias, of places that do not exist.

An extraordinary synthesis of Golden Age Mexican melodrama with the more freewheeling films of the middle period of Luis Buñuel's career (note that lead actor, Claudio Brook, was Simón in Simón del desierto [1969] and that lead actress, Rita Macedo, has prominent roles in two other indispensable Buñuel films, Ensayo de un crimen [1955] and Nazarín [1959]), Arturo Ripstein's The Castle of Purity offers an allegorical telling of the true story of a man's attempt to keep his family free from sin by locking them away inside their hefty ramshackle house in downtown Mexico City.  Beginning eighteen years into this enforced seclusion, the film depicts the falling apart of this impossible project and details with especial nastiness the misogyny of the family's rat-poison-perfecting totalitarian patriarch, Gabriel Lima, whose marvel and disgust at the prospect of female sexuality seemingly knows no bounds.  As one critic has trenchantly put it, The Castle of Purity presents us with "machismo's last bunker."  One of the most consequential Mexican films of the decade, Ripstein's depiction of an infernal utopia is not to be missed.

Tuesday, February 15th
Stevenson 150, 8 PM

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