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Under the Volcano

Screening on Film
Directed by John Huston.
With Albert Finney, Jacqueline Bisset, Anthony Andrews.
US/Mexico, 1984, 35mm, color, 112 min.

After various failed attempts by directors like Buñuel, John Huston was the only one to finally wrestle Malcolm Lowry’s semi-autobiographical, un-cinematic novel to the silver screen. On the eve of World War II, glimmers of a lucid, erudite man barely make it through Albert Finney’s relentlessly nuanced portrayal of the alcoholic Geoffrey Fermin. A former British consul of a small Mexican town, Fermin is a fallen man taking a direct – if colorful and loquacious – path to Hell. The lost souls of his half-brother and estranged wife emotionally affix themselves to his stumbling corpse and follow him through an endless Day of the Dead. Unable to face the true horrors erupting within themselves and within the world around them, the trio succumbs to a trance of deep denial, only momentarily breaking when the spectre of death appears before them unadorned.

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