LUIS BUÑUEL & ALEX PHILLIPS IN MEXICO: Ascent to Heaven
Director: Luis Buñuel
Writers: Luis Buñuel, Juan de la Cabada, Manuel Altolaguirre
Producers: Manuel Altolaguirre, María Luisa Gómez Mena
Cinematographer: Alex Phillips
Editors: Rafael Portillo, Luis Buñuel
Cast: Lilia Prado, Carmen González, Esteban Márquez
Spanish with English subtitles.
Newlywed Oliverio receives disturbing news that his mother is on her deathbed. He travels to a remote part of Mexico to fetch a lawyer who can sort out her will. Leaving his wife behind, he embarks on a bus ride that's interrupted by an increasingly absurd series of episodes, including an impromptu birthday celebration; a one-legged man writhing in the mud; come-ons from an insatiable small-town belle, Raquel; and Oliverio's frequent, Freudian nightmares.
During the Golden Age of Mexican cinema (a period between 1936 -1959), Canadian-born cinematographer Alex Phillips (Ontario, 1900) and Spanish-born film director Luis Buñuel (Aragón, 1900), became symbols for Mexican cinema. Alex Phillips arrived in Mexico in 1931 and never left; he worked on more than 200 films, including Mexico’s first sound film, Santa (1931). In 1973, Alex Phillips was awarded with the Golden Ariel (Mexico’s highest film recognition) for his body of work. Luis Buñuel filmed 21 of his 32 films in Mexico including Los Olvidados (1950), a film recognized by UNESCO as part of the world’s audiovisual heritage. In 1961, he directed Viridiana, the only film from Mexico ever to win the Palme d’Or for Best Film at the Cannes Film Festival. Alex Phillips and Luis Buñuel worked together on two films: Ascent to Heaven (Subida al cielo) (1952) and Robinson Crusoe (1954). Ascent to Heaven premiered at the Cannes Film Festival, and it received four nominations at the Mexican Academy Awards, including for Best Director.