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Las Hurdes: Tierra Sin Pan (1932), (English language: Land Without Bread or Unpromised Land) is a 27-minute-long documentary film directed by Luis Buñuel and co-produced by Buñuel and Ramon Acin. The narration was written by Buñuel, Rafael Sanchez Ventura, and Pierre Unik, with cinematography by Eli Lotar.

The film focuses on the Las Hurdesmarker region of Spainmarker, the mountainous area around the town La Alberca, and the intense poverty of its occupants. Buñuel, who made the film after reading the ethnographic study Las Jurdes: étude de géographie humaine (1927) by Maurice Legendre, took a Surrealist approach to the notion of the anthropological expedition. The result was a travelogue in which the narrator’s extreme (indeed, exaggerated) descriptions of human misery of Las Hurdes contrasts with his flat and disinterested manner.

Although some film scholars describe it as a documentary, Land Without Bread is in fact, according to film studies scholar Jeffrey Ruoff, an early (some might say prescient) parody of the barely invented genre of documentary filmmaking.

The film was originally silent, though Buñuel himself narrated when it was first shown. A French narration by actor Abel Jacquin was added in Parismarker in 1935. Buñuel used extracts of Johannes Brahms's Symphony No. 4 for the music.

Buñuel slaughtered at least two animals to make Las Hurdes. He ordered an ailing donkey to be covered with honey so he could film it being stung to death by bees. Similarly, his crew shot a mountain goat and threw its carcass from a cliff for another sequence.

The film was banned in Spain from 1933 to 1936.

There is a Spanish-language dubbed version spoken by Francisco Rabal.


Media bias controversy

One of the chief concerns of the ca. 8,000 present day inhabitants of Las Hurdes is to fight against the stigma issues affecting Las Hurdes. The resulting stereotype has affected their region at least since playwright Lope de Vega's 1663 comedy, Las Batuecas del Duque de Alba. Casting the region as an area of darkness, disease and ignorance was continued by other writers for centuries before Buñuel's film.


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