An unfinished Galdos novel, about a Spanishwoman's hard-earned liberation from the tidy and traditional male-dominated social order, becomes a conservative, even-tempered, creamy-colored Bunuel exercise. For the most part, it slips through your fingers as it goes, leaving little trace; and the prevailing calmness seems a wise, resigned attitude for the venerated surrealist after his shocks have become expected of him. These shocks do come, in the degree of mild tremors, and they are good to see, but not great and not really essential. Catherine Deneuve manages some devious twists at her mouth-corners and eye-corners, but the evolution of her character is chiefly expressed in the changes effected by her makeup man and her hair stylist. Oh, and her prosthetist. With Fernando Rey and Franco Nero. (1970) — Duncan Shepherd
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