Mexico | 92 MINUTES
Pina Pellicer, best known in the U.S. for her appearance opposite Brando in One-Eyed Jacks, gives an unforgettably touching performance in this subtly directed melodrama from Roberto Gavaldón. A naïve country girl, Luisa (Pellicer) finds work in the big city and becomes romantically involved with an exploitative married man, blinded to the true nature of their relationship. When the truth dawns, she fashions an alternate reality, faking a marriage, widowhood, even the birth of a child in order to save face in the eyes of her fellow workers and the boss who has fallen in love with her. Autumn Days was the fruit of the collaboration of several major talents. Best known for his 1960 Oscar®-nominated Macario, Gavaldón here made his best and most affecting work. The picture's stunning visual quality (exquisitely lit interiors and fascinating location shooting on the streets and rooftops of Mexico City)--captured in this brand new restoration from Mexico's film archive--is the work of one the leading directors of cinematography in world cinema, Gabriel Figueroa. More than anyone else, Figueroa established the sumptuous imagery that was to immortalize the "Golden Age" of Mexican film in the 1940's. He shot films for Luis Buñuel and Emilio Fernandez, but also for leading American directors--John Ford, John Huston, Don Siegel. Autumn Days bears comparison with films being made north of the border in the same era by Hitchcock and Sirk. The script was written by the reclusive and mysterious B. Traven, author of The Treasure of the Sierra Madre. Winning Best Actress at the San Sebastian Film Festival for her role, Pellicer, who projects fragility and vulnerability so poignantly in Autumn Days, killed herself in Mexico City in 1964 at age 29.