Though recently in the Mexican movies we see basically the same kind of things like crossed stories or extremely "realistic" ones, or both, there are some things in the old ones that the new ones are forgetting: beauty. This movie is based in a true story where a man that is afraid to contaminate his family with the evils of the world (and actually he is already "contaminated", and very),decides to lock them inside their house for years, avoiding them any kind of contact with the world, even throw the windows. Not happy just with this, he makes the kids work in the family business that is making poison to kill rats. The characters are confocal created, ambiguous and confused, such as anybody is, and themes like loneliness or sexual curiosity in the kids while they are growing up is very well managed. However, even it is a sad story, it is so well treated, that it is beautiful. This is a movie that I would certainly recommend, specially because Mexican movies has not good fame.
The Castle of Purity
The Castle of Purity
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This film is based on a true story, in the 50´s in Mexico City and based in a book by Luis Spota "La carcajada del gato" (The laughter of the cat). It was also a theater play with the name "Los motivos del lobo" (The wolf´s motives)
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Mexican cinéaste Arturo Ripstein shows that a tyrant can read great philosophers as well as punish innocent people.
Cinema and painting are different forms of art. While the former is a mode of telling stories, it can be said that the latter is a form of visually representing those stories. For an astute viewer, true cinematographic art is created when a film director is able to merge both these forms of art. It is with Castle of Purity/"El Castillo de la Pureza" that Mexican cinema auteur Arturo Ripstein has directed a film wherein one sees cinema being portrayed on a big screen as an art form. It can be said that through this film he has depicted that in some ways a director can also be a small scale painter. He has made great use of closed spaces and nature as each frame, each shot bears the mark of an accomplished painter. His film is about a strict yet hypocrite disciplinarian who would go to any length in order to enforce discipline. Sensible viewers would be able to relate to the film's theme as it is quite possible for people to find a cruel misanthrope in their midst. It is not a daily occurrence that one gets to see a film whose protagonist likens human beings to rats. Mexican actors Claudio Brook and Rita Macedo play important roles in this film. In 1995, on the occasion of 100 years of cinema, Variety International Film Guide asked its national correspondents to list their country's top 10 films. The name of Mexican film Castle of Purity "El Castillo de la Pureza" appeared in that important list. It has been universally hailed as the film which got its author Arturo Ripstein immense critical acclaim. Film critic Lalit Rao watched this film during 14th International Film Festival of Kerala 2009 at Trivandrum,India where a retrospective of Arturo Ripstein's films was organized.
Why is this not a Criterion film?
In the book Customs and Cultures of Mexico by Peter Standish and Steven M. Bell, the authors refer to the films of director Arturo Ripstein's films as ones that "highlighted characters beset by futile compulsions to escape (their) destinies." As such, many of his films feature bleak colors and pathetic characters who struggle to retain any scrap of dignity. The Harvard Film Archive referred to him as the link between "Mexico's studio-era and the new generation of auteur directors."
The title of this film was given to Ripstein by Mexican surrealist Octavio Paz by way of a seminal essay on Marcel Duchamp. In it, Gabriel Lima (Claudio Brook, Simon of the Desert, Licence to Kill) imprisons his family from the temptations of the rest of the world, dominating them and subjugating them in the same way that a totalitarian government would hold them against their will. Meanwhile, the family struggles to subsist with their homemade rat poison business. It was based on a real life story.
The father is the ultimate in evil, as despite him abusing his sons for not memorizing passages about how a man should be, he does not follow them. In the outside world that he has forbidden them from ever seeing, he is a continual debaser of virgins while in his own domain, he continually attacks his wife for knowing any man before him.
The film was nominated for ten Arial Awards, winning Best Picture (in a tie with Mecanica Nacional and Reed, Mexico Insurgente),as well as awards for Arturo Beristain for Best Supporting Actor, Diana Bracho for Best Supporting Actress, Ripstein and José Emilio Pacheco for Best Original Screenplay and Manuel Fontanals for Best Scenography.
In 2009, the film Dogtooth was a critical and commercial success for Greek director Giorgos Lanthimos, but to many, it seemed that it outright stole the story and several key moments from Ripstein's film. The director's response? He considered sending him a message that said, "I hope we win" when the film was nominated for an Oscar. Such is life, as many Mexican films are truly lost on the world stage and unacknowledged at best.
It's hard to call this a horror film. It exists in its own strange universe, beyond the world of normal man while at the same time it struggles to inform us in a parable-like way of what happens when pride comes before the fall.