#124 – Delitos Menores (Petty Crimes)

(1948, Mex, ? min, b/w) Dir Luis Buñuel.

Between Gran Casino and The Great Madcap Buñuel made the short Petty Crimes which seems to have lasted all of three weeks as a completed short following the edit before a small fire at the studio spirited it away. Buñuel, it is said, wasn’t entirely pleased with the film they had produced and regarded the incident with no great emotion, moving swiftly on to the next project. Thus the fleeting existence of Delitos Menores remained of no real consequence until the late 1970’s when a copy of the script appeared in a suitcase in the attic of Ramon Valdez, the son of famed Mexican filmmaker Pablo Valdez and future director of Sol Diablo. Valdez Senior, it transpired, had worked on Delitos Menores as script boy and general gofer. Suddenly the film attained the mystique of the irretrievably lost and Buñuel had to fend off questions about it in interviews for the remainder of his life apart, that is, from when he fell back on his deafness to dodge the inquiries. Stills soon appeared in mislaid and mislabelled boxes in an archive in Switzerland and in 2000, as part of the celebrations for the centenary of Buñuel’s birth, a sort of slide show version was produced with the voices of Martin Sheen, Gabriel Byrne and Julianne Moore reading the parts. More recently Guy Maddin included it as one of the subjects of his Seances series with Udo Kier in the lead.

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Twitter: @MadeUpFilms

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