Adam and Eve (1956)

(a.k.a. ADAN Y EVA)
Article #1433 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 2-15-2005
Posting Date: 7-15-2005
Directed by Alberto Gout
Featuring Christiane Martel, Carlos Baena, Carlos Martinez Baena

Adam and Eve are created and placed in Eden, where they are tempted by the serpent to eat from the Tree of Knowledge.

Biblical epics do fall under the category of fantastic cinema, since miracles are indeed fantastical happenings. In fact, the story of Adam and Eve is probably the best known in the Bible. It is so well known, in fact, that despite the fact that this movie was in Spanish without subtitles, I didn’t have the slightest problem following it. Of course, it helps that there is very little dialogue to begin with; except for some opening and closing narration, and a couple of comments from God, there is no dialogue to this movie. It is also one of the best looking Mexican movies I’ve seen to date, and it has a wonderful soundtrack to it. There are some definite pleasures here.

However, there’s a cinematic problem with telling the story of Adam and Eve that I’ve barely touched on so far, so let me give you the naked truth: it’s very difficult to tell this story visually and keep the viewer in the properly reverent state of mind. To phrase this another way (while remaining annoyingly coy in the process) let me just say that you will most likely get caught up in the fact that an accurate telling of this story puts very little strain on the clothing designer, and that in order to compensate for the relative easiness of this crewperson’s task, we must give extra work to the casting director (“We need a woman with long hair!”), the hairdresser (“These strands go down the back, but these need to hang down in front.”), the cameraman (“Yes, we need to shoot it from THIS angle!”), the choreographer (“Make sure when you’re walking from point A to point B that you hand is positioned just so!), and finally, the foliage wrangler (‘So how much waist-high foliage do you need in this scene?”) Actually, the clothing designer isn’t completely idle, but it’s still a fairly easy job; for the first half of the movie, you just need certain garments of small size and specific color, and for the second half of the movie, you can consult with the foliage wrangler.

The movie does start wandering a bit at the fifty minute mark; that’s when Adam and Eve are evicted. Let’s face it, there’s just not a whole lot of story left, but there’s twenty minutes of movie to go. So we get a lot of wandering in the desert. And here’s a game for Biblical scholars; spot the Biblical error that occurs shortly after Adam invents shade. (Hint: Adam and Eve see something that hasn’t been created yet.)


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