Thunder Among the Leaves
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|Thunder Among the Leaves|
Original 1958 theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Armando Bó|
|Produced by||Nicolas Bó|
|Written by||Augusto Roa Bastos|
|Based on||La hija del ministro
by Augusto Roa Bastos
|Edited by||Roselino Caterbetti|
|Distributed by||Films AM|
|October 2, 1958|
Thunder Among the Leaves (Spanish: El trueno entre las hojas) is a 1958 Argentine drama film directed by Armando Bó, starring himself, Isabel Sarli, Ernesto Báez and Andrés Laszlo. The screenplay by Paraguayan writer Augusto Roa Bastos was based in his short story La hija del ministro. Set in Paraguay, the story is about a strike at a sawmill.
The first film to feature full frontal nudity in Argentine cinema, Thunder Among the Leaves scandalized audiences and became a major box office success in the continent. It rocketed Sarli to stardom, and is now considered a cult classic.
- Armando Bó as Julio Guillén
- Isabel Sarli as Flavia Forkel
- Andrés Laszlo as Max Forkel
- Ernesto Báez as Capanga
- Félix Ribero
- Luis Leguisamón
- Eladio Martínez
- Leandro S. Cacavelos
- Roque Centurión Miranda
- Aníbal Romero
- Matías Ferreira Díaz
- Javier Franco
- Alejo Vargas
- Nieves Esquivel
- Adolfo Cuellar
- Luis Guastalla
- Kika Da Silva
- Manuel E. B. Argüello
- Guillermo Ketterer
- Rafael Rojas Doria
- Amador García
- César Alvarez Blanco
Authors have described the aesthetics of the film reminiscent of those by Hugo del Carril and Mario Soffici because of its social commentary. Some have described Bó's work as feuilleton, as he regained its generic guidelines described by Arnold Hauser: a predilection for the exaggerated, crude and exotic; in the case of Thunder Among the Leaves in a scene in which Julio (Bó) rapes Flavia (Sarli). It is said that Sarli's inclusion in the film was inspired by Brigitte Bardot's role in And God Created Woman.
Initally, Bó didn't wanted Sarli for the role, because "she was not an actress"; But producer, Nicolas Bó, who put the budget for the film, insisted and Isabel was cast.
The bath scene
During principal photography, Bó convinced Sarli to be naked in a scene in which she bathed in a lake, although she was previously told she would wear a flesh-colored bodystocking. Although Bó told Sarli they would shoot from afar, the camera had magnification.
The film was a highly controversial box-office success; it has been described as a "boom" and "scandalous" and shocked the mostly Catholic Argentine society. Argentine newspaper La Nación wrote in 1969 that "[t]he film had an extraordinary international impact, thus constituting in Argentina, one of the biggest blockbusters registered over the last years." In November 1958, The News and Courier reported "[a] saucy Latin lass has smashed South American box office records with the most daring dunking since Hedy Lamarr disrobed to fame in Ecstasy." The movie's premiere in Montevideo, Uruguay broke box office records, and Sarli's bath scene "rocked some Latin American capitals". In April 1959, Brian Bell of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette wrote "[t]here was nothing particularly exciting about the movie except Miss Sarli, in a birthday suit swimming scene. It was a smash in South America." However, Sarli was panned by fellow filmmakers for the nude scene.
The film featured the later sex-symbol Isabel Sarli in her first starring role, and marked the beginning of her partnership with future husband Armando Bó, which would span almost three decades and made numerous sexploitation films. Now considered a classic, the bath scene was the first one to feature full frontal nudity in Argentine cinema.
The News and Courier wrote "[t]he opening in Buenos Aires was hailed as the start of a new era for Argentina's movie industry" after the end of Juan Perón's service as President, and thus his propaganda techniques. Thunder Among the Leaves was the star vehicle for Sarli, and made her and Bó internationally renowned. The nude scene, particularly, is said to have "[sparked] her star phenomena".
The film had made her so popular, that in the premiere of her second film with Bó, Sabaleros (1959), a crowd of young fans mobbed her, ripping her dress and breaking through a police cordon as she got to the cinema, causing Sarli to faint twice. The Star-Banner reported "Buenos Aires moviegoers could not remember a more surprising and delirious reception for an Argentine movie actress."
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