Directed by Luis Buñuel, 1970

Written by Luis Buñuel and Julio Alejandro, based on the novel by Benito Pérez Galdós


This film is set in Toledo, Spain. Buñuel has shifted the time frame from the 1890s (in Galdós' novel) to the 1930s. Portions of the dialogue portray Don Lope as a bourgeois gentleman with socialist and libertarian ideas ("Down with work"; "the exploiter pigs"). How do these ideas relate to how he conducts his private life?

How are we to understand Don Lope's refusal to haggle over prices?

How is the Guardia Civil portrayed in this film?

What is indicated by don Lope's recitation of the popular saying, "Mujer honrada-pierna quebrada y en casa" ("The honorable woman-at home with a broken leg")?

Don Lope is an atheist, as we see from his quarrel with his wealthy sister and his insistence that sex is never sinful, except with a friend's wife or an innocence young girl. What does his subsequent behavior suggest about the relation of his behavior to his belief system?

What is the significance of Tristana's preferring one identical column (or pea, or snowflake) to the rest? How does this preference system affect her love life?

How do you explain the insistence on food and eating in this film? In particular of migas (bread crumbs fried in olive oil and garlic)?

What is Tristana's recurring nightmare? What other motifs in Buñuel's films does it bring to mind?

What is the significance of the recurring motif of don Lope's slippers?

Why does Tristana return to don Lope's house?

How are we to understand Tristana's enduring bitterness after her life has been saved?

Why does don Lope ask Horacio, Tristana's painter/lover, to start visiting her every day from 4-6 pm, while he takes his walk? What does this tell us about the character?

What is the effect of cutting away from the scene in which Tristana flashes her breasts at the deaf boy, to the religious images in the church where the wedding ceremony is taking place between Tristana and don Lope?

What is the effect of juxtaposing the thumping of Tristana's crutches upstairs, against don Lope's tertulia over hot chocolate in the kitchen?

Is Tristana's final revenge against don Lope justified? How objective, versus how engaged, is the camera's point of view?

What is the color palette of this film?

How does the medieval city of Toledo and its churches contribute to the film's atmosphere?

What sounds and/or music are employed, and to what effect?

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