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Hello All,
 
I am currently working on a paper on Las Hurdes (Land Without Bread).  The
argument is about Bunuel's use of the grotesque and the affective results
of this.  I asked a linguist to read it over.  I had made a point about
Bunuel's use of the word "idiots" to describe some young boys in the
village of Nemoral. (Bunuel goes on to call them a "choir of idiots"
later.)  I have argued that the use of "idiot" is upsetting to spectators.
I think that it is these days -- usually there is some uncomfortable
laughter or shifting during this part of the film.  My friend argues that
in 1932 when the film was made "idiocy" was an accepted term and probably
caused much less problem for spectators then than now.
 
Does anyone have anything to say about this?  Has anyone seen the original
version with the Spanish or French narration?  Is there a difference in the
original?  Are there cultural differences here that I should be noting?
 
I have also argued that it was common in those times to hide anyone who had
a "problematic" physical or mental condition and that Bunuel's showing of
these boys is in itself an upsetting thing, especially since he says that
the condition is a result of illness and sometimes incest.  Any thoughts
about this?
 
Thanks in advance.
 
Jeannette Sloniowski
Film and Communications
Brock University
 
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