El Pantera – La Monja

May 27, 2008

I was flipping through cable TV the other night, and I hit on a Spanish language crime show. It features some lean, handsome young guy with spiky hair who rides a Harley chopper and hangs out with an old, hatted, portly detective. The show, The Panther, I have since learned is based on a comic strip, and it always takes place in Mexico City. I was intrigued because it had unusual editing, used split images, and the atmospherics were highly unusual for a TV crime series – very noir.

The video sequence above is a series of stills from the first crime in the show. Apologies for the quality – I couldn’t find a clean way to get this posted.

The woman enters a large, ancient church to steal antiquities. She is surprised by a priest, and she shoots him! She delivers the loot to her boss outside, and then makes her way…where? Is that a dance show? That 60s style decor?! Who are those women watching her as she strips her nun’s habit and does her sexy dance? Why is she there?

The feel of this sequence struck me as if Bunuel had been employed doing TV serials. And the theme of the sexy, murderous nun – such imagery is lacking to us denizens of protestant countries.  And she is murderous – later on in the episode she hacks a woman to death, and uses a paper cutter to decapitate a scholarly gentleman.

The episode is called “The Nun”, but it  makes me think of another bloodthirsty, gothic celibate, Matthew Gregory Lewis’s creation, The Monk!)

If there are any Spanish speaking viewers out there who are familiar with this episode (no.5) please explain!

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