El imperio de la fortuna (1986)

Ernesto Gómez Cruz, Blanca Guerra, Alejandro Parodi, Zaide Silvia Gutiérrez,
A very poor and handicaped man, lives in a small town in Mexico with his mother. He works announcing things along the town ("The priest lost his cow, if someone sees it ..."). He is very interested in the cock fightigs. One day a ...
  • 7.3 /10.0 IMDB Rating:
  • DatePublished:
  • 2018-09-07 Added:
  • Juan Rulfo, Paz Alicia Garciadiego, Writer:
  • Arturo Ripstein, Director:
  • Producer:
9 / 10

lady luck

Dionisio lives with his mother in a hut, and makes his living as a crier in his town. He carries a little drum and two sticks in a little box made of small branches. He takes out his drum and sticks and stands teetering on the tiny box, and shouts announcements while beating on his drum. Obviously, he doesn't make much doing this. His luck changes when he is hired to announce the coming of a carnival to the village, and is recruited to emcee a cock fight. The winning rooster is badly enough hurt that its owner wants to kill it, but Dionisio persuades the owner to let him have the injured bird, which as it turns out can still fight, and goes on to win a couple of more matches, and also makes Dionisio much richer, before finally losing, i. e. getting killed. Through this exposure to gaming, Dionisio becomes a different person. His luck becomes intertwined with a woman he meets, and eventually wins over, who sings with a group at the carnavals where the cockfights take place, and is known as la Caponera, though her real name is Bernarda. Their relationship takes them into one of the most passionate sex scenes ever, but cools (at least on his part). Like he did with his mother before, Dionisio neglects Bernarda, but this time with tragic consequences.

Fantastically filmed in gaudy color, with great attention to the details of its location and characters, this is a film not to be overlooked.

9 / 10

A fine movie

This is a fine adaptation of one of the few stories of Juan Rulfo, a fine Mexican novelist who, unfortunately wrote only a handful of pieces.

The movie does a fine job in translating a very complex story about a professional cock-fight trainer and gambler who, after a twist of fate, finds his luck, both good and bad, in a beautiful female singer portrayed by gorgeous Blanca Guerra at her best.

As usual, movie adaptations of novels lost a lot of the original richness, but even taking into consideration that loss, this movie makes a wonderful job in portraying not only the cockfighting and gambling world in rural Mexico, but also in reflecting and criticizing the society involved in such practices.

Not only that, see after the multilayered role of Blanca Guerra as Bernarda, La Caponera. First, her relations with the cockfighters-gamblers. Then, the relation with her daughter.

Arturo Ripstein's used real locations in central rural Mexico, so the movie has a real-life feel. Some shots are Eisenstein's like, although since it was filmed in color it is hard to fully appreciate them.

7 / 10

Epic story of the struggle to appreciate good things of life.

A very poor, crippled man barely ekes out a living while his mother attempts to care for him. He is given a crippled cock to eat, but nurses it to health and some success in fighting. He rejects the offer of a professional gambler to win illegally. The gambler defeats him and then becomes his mentor in cock fighting and cards. A Mexican Ava Gardner sings in the settings where he is and lives with the gambler. Eventually she leaves the gambler, taking his luck to the poor man who then is vary successful materially, but never emotionally. One dramatic sexual scene and later a more degraded one. A daughter from infancy until early adulthood. A primitive life well portrayed. A story to see repeatedly.

1 / 10

Long, Dull, Predictable

The worst thing about this film is its length. It just doesn't end. It goes on and on.... and on. Many movies that exceed 2hrs don't feel too long, but this one really does. You see, the trouble is that the events in El Imperio de la fortuna unfold very slowly. And when they do happen it isn't exciting. Not even a little bit because it is exactly what you would have predicted to happen 20mins earlier. It has all the imagination of a paper weight, in the shape of a paper weight. The entire movie plot could be written on the side of a folded napkin.

All the characters are so dumb you feel no sympathy for any of them. "Can't you see what's going to happen to you if you continue along this path!!", I hollered at the TV screen on more than one occasion. Also hollered was: "Why are you doing that?", "What's that got to do with the movie?!" & "Get on with it!!".

Never before has such frustration been felt whilst watching a film. If there wern't subtitles to keep my eyes open I would surely have fallen asleep on the couch. I couldn't more highly unrecommend this movie 1/10.