The castle of purity

The castle of purity

(El castillo de la pureza)

Arturo Ripstein

  • 1973
  • Mexico
  • Drama
  • 1h40mn
  • Original version with French subtitles
  • Color
Every day, Gabriel goes to town to sell the bags of rat poison he makes with his wife and children, Utopia, Will and Future. To protect them from the corruptions of the outside world, he keeps them locked up at home, making their lives hell.
To the rhythm of a fanatic's sreams and the fabrication of extermination products, Arturo Ripstein turns his huge decrepit house, with its courtyard where rain never stops, into an extraordinary symbolic space. It can be read like a metaphor for fascism applied to the family unit, and for a patriarchy that always considers woman a sinner, and chokes sexuality while finding satisfaction elsewhere. Inspired by a true story, Arturo Ripstein’s dark tale has lost none of its gnarling and subversive splendor.

Dominik Moll

I discovered Mexican director Arturo Ripstein’s work at the La Rochelle Festival in 1993. It’s like someone had put Fassbinder and Bunuel (for whom Ripstein was an assistant) in a mixer and had added a pinch of Haneke. In The Castle of Purity, a family man sequestrates his wife and children. He wants to protect them from the world's dangers and temptations, that himself finds hard to resist. His son is called Future, his daughters Utopia and Volition. Quite a program.


15/09 • 19h15 • Screen 300
Screening presented by Dominik Moll



  • With : Claudio Brook, Rita Macedo, Arturo Beristáin, Diana Bracho, Gladys Bermejo
  • Screenplay : José Emilio Pacheco, Arturo Ripstein
  • Photography : Alex Phillips
  • Editing : Rafael Castanedo
  • Music by : Joaquín Gutiérrez Heras
  • Production : Angélica Ortiz