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Blu-Ray Review: Shout Factory’s Buñuel In The Labyrinth Of The Turtles (GKIDS)


Shout Factory/GKIDS brings the beautifully complex animated film Buñuel In The Labyrinth Of The Turtles to Blu-Ray loaded with special features

The Film 

Rather than make a traditional Bio-Pic, filmmaker Salvador Simó has created a film about Luis Buñuel creating the first of his most acclaimed work.  Buñuel in the Labyrinth of the Turtles is the rare type of animated feature that is both adult and complex in the best way possible. 

Filmmaker Luis Buñuel’s newest film L’Age d’Or is so controversial that it leads the filmmaker without any work or income.  Literally destitute Buñuel floats around having no future projects until with friends/colleagues heads back to Spain to create a documentary on the Las Hurdes region of Spain.  Armed with a Camera and funding from his producer Ramon Acin, Buñuel and company attempt to make something special… beyond a film, beyond a documentary, long-lasting art that goes beyond entertainment. 

Simó has created a portrait of Luis Buñuel and his close circle of collaborations that defies expectations.  Often times these types of Biopics create a sort of hero-worship halo around the central subject, seeing them as sterling paragons of their chose field of expertise.  Buñuel In The Labyrinth Of The Turtles dispenses with that kind of nonsense rather quickly. Simó and co-screenwriter Eligio R. Montero adapting from the Graphic Novel Buñuel en el laberinto de las tortugas by Fermín Solís have created a film about a man obsessed with his work and past it blinds him to the present and future.

Much of the work here is perfectly fitted for Buñuel’s often surrealistic work that Simó and company would use animation to tell his story.  The moments of truly artistic flights of fancy do not seem out of place here in the animated realm.  The work may have seemed out of place in live-action or too precious in our modern times.  Here it feels like a piece of the whole experience and the world of Buñuel’s mind and soul which the film does venture into more than once. 

Buñuel In The Labyrinth Of The Turtles is the type of film that we rarely see, if ever.  A truly beautiful and complex animated biography.  Fans of animation, cineastes, Buñuel-fans, Criterion Collection aficionados should make this one a priority.  It’s the real deal. 

The Transfer

Buñuel In The Labyrinth Of The Turtles comes to US Blu-Ray in a handsome Blu-Ray transfer.  Like most of their Animated work (via GKIDS) it’s a flawless transfer.  

The Extras

They include the following: 

  • Feature-Length Documentary Buñuel’s Prisoners
  • Interview With The Director
  • Trailers

Bruñel’s Prisoners is a bonus movie included on the disc. The documentary is a sequel of sorts to Las Hurdes: Tierra Sin Pan which picks up in 1999 with the citizens of Las Hurdes, Spain which was the focus of the original documentary. Following multiple people all of which have a different point of view of Bruñel’s first seminal work. The title is from the fact many feel that Bruñel’s film hurt the town and its residents more than it helped. It’s a brilliant addition to this disc. This documentary alone would make the film worthy of purchasing. 

Interview with the Director is a 10-minute featurette with Bruñel in the Labyrinth of Turtles Director Salvador Simó. Simó discusses the challenges of what film to make about Bruñel, how the focused on what specific time, and how they made the film and their theories on making this biographical animated film. 

Rounding out the special features is a gallery of Theatrical Trailers. The 5.5-minutes worth of trailers consists of the US trailer, US Teaser, and Original Trailer. 

The Final Thought 

Buñuel in the Labyrinth Of The Turtles is an underseen animated gem waiting to be discovered.  Shout Factory has given a surprising wealth of special features.  High Recommendations!

Shout Factory/GKIDS’s Blu-Ray of Buñuel In The Labyrinth Of The Turtles is out now

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