Blu-Ray Review: Death in the Garden (Masters of Cinema)

Luis Buñuel is arguably the most influential and innovative Spanish director ever to work in cinema. The father of surrealism, he made films in France, Spain, Mexico and the USA. Working with Salvador Dali, he released his first short (Un Chien Andalou) in 1929. His last feature was That Obscure Object of Desire in 1977. In between, highlights included Belle de Jour, The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie and The Exterminating Angel. During the 1950s, he released his “revolutionary triptych”, of which Death in the Garden (La mort en ce jardin) was his second film.

In a South American mining outpost, prospectors desperately strive to make their fortunes. When the government ban further exploration, a riot breaks out in the town. A group of fugitives, comprising a roguish adventurer (Georges Marchal), a priest (Michel Piccoli), a prostitute (Simone Signoret), an aging miner (Charles Vanel) and his mute daughter (Michèle Girardon) flee into the forest. They must evade the pursuing troops whilst struggling to stay alive.

Death in the Garden is one of Buñuel more straightforward film. However, this adventure still contains elements of surrealism and symbolism, provided mostly by the dense forest. Riffing off his hatred of Franco’s Spain, Buñuel paints a society struggling against oppression. It works both as an action film and a social commentary. Of a society torn between Catholicism and wanton pleasure. Death in the Garden is an entertaining, absorbing and thoughtful survival film.

Special Features:

  • Stunning 1080p presentation (on the Blu-ray)
  • Uncompressed PCM sountrack (on the Blu-ray)
  • Optional English subtitles
  • A new interview with Tony Rayns
  • An interview with actor Michel Piccoli
  • An interview with film scholar Victor Fuentes
  • Masters of Cinema exclusive trailer
  • PLUS: a booklet featuring a new essay by Philip Kemp, and archival imagery

Death in the Garden is released on dual format DVD & Blu-Ray by Eureka Entertainment as part of their Masters of Cinema collection on Monday 19 June.

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