World Melodrama Film Series Presents: Susana (1951)
Dear God! You made me the way I am!
The fourth film made by Luis Buñuel in Mexico, Susana is a wonderfully self-reflexive take on the same sort of Mexican pastoral melodrama that we saw together a few weeks ago in Emilio "El Indio" Fernández's María Candelaria (1944). This time, though, instead of being a Virginal and sacrificial flower vendor, the titular heroine is part femme fatale and part fallen woman (devoradora and cabaretera). Having escaped from a reformatory school with the help of a little divine intervention, Susana (Rosita Quintana) takes refuge at a nearby hacienda, thanks to the kindness of its Catholic matriarch, Doña Carmen (Matilde Palou). However, this turns out to be a big mistake, as far as the sanctity of Doña Carmen's marriage and the happiness of her family are concerned. With a lot of free time on her hands to pose herself provocatively in front of a lot of ogling men on the property (from Doña Carmen's husband and son to her chief ranch hand), the salacious Susana makes short work of the spirit of patriarchy, religious piety, and masculinity inhabiting this putatively ideal Mexican home. Not to be missed.