The film focuses on the Las Hurdes region of Spain, the mountainous area around the town La Alberca, and the intense poverty of its occupants. Buñuel, who made the film after reading the ethnographic study Las Jurdes: étude de géographie humaine (1927) by Maurice Legendre, took a Surrealist approach to the notion of the anthropological expedition. The result was a travelogue in which the narrator’s extreme (indeed, exaggerated) descriptions of human misery of Las Hurdes contrasts with his flat and disinterested manner.
Although some film scholars describe it as a documentary, Land Without Bread is in fact, according to film studies scholar Jeffrey Ruoff, an early (some might say prescient) parody of the barely invented genre of documentary filmmaking.
The film was originally silent, though Buñuel himself narrated when it was first shown. A French narration by actor Abel Jacquin was added in Paris in 1935. Buñuel used extracts of Johannes Brahms' Symphony No. 4 for the music.
Buñuel slaughtered at least two animals to make Las Hurdes. He ordered an ailing donkey to be covered with honey so he could film it being stung to death by bees. Similarly, his crew shot a mountain goat and threw its carcass from a cliff for another sequence.
There is a Spanish-language dubbed version spoken by Francisco Rabal.
Below is the English dubbed version followed by the French dubbed version with Spanish subs. Enjoy!