Death of a Cyclist

Director: Juan Antonio Bardem
Year Released: 1955
Rating: 2.5

A math professor (Alberto Closas) and his mistress (who is married to a rich man) accidentally kill a bicyclist but can't be bothered with getting him proper care out of fear that their affair will be made public; somehow, an art critic finds out about the homicide and blackmails them. Veers between Antonioni's alienated pictures and a Hitchcockian sense of psychological self-torture but never really settles on one or the other mode - there are plenty of close-ups of Closas brooding but as a picture it's too mannered to really convey a palpable sense of tension. The third act is a tad meandering and the 'poetic justice' is entirely too neat, though the political bravura of director Bardem making overtly political statements in a time of censorship and social unrest is courageous, indeed.