Directors: LUIS BUÑUEL

  1. ElCochran90
  2. Edgar

One of my giants of cinema.

The father of cinematic surrealism and a critical machinist of Mexican neorealism.

1.- Los Olvidados (1950)
2.- El Ángel Exterminador (1962)
3.- L'Âge d'Or (1930)
4.- Viridiana (1961)
5.- Le Charme Discret de la Bourgeoisie (1972)
6.- Nazarín (1959)
7.- La Ilusión Viaja en Tranvía (1954)
8.- Ensayo de un Crimen (1955)
9.- La Voie Lactée (1969)
10.- Él (1951)
11.- Le Fantôme de la Liberté (1974)
12.- Cet Obscur Objet du Désir (1977)
13.- El Gran Calavera (1949)
14.- Le Journal d'une Femme de Chambre (1964)
15.- Subida al Cielo (1952)
16.- La Hija del Engaño (1951)
17.- Susana (1951)
18.- El Río y la Muerte (1955)

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L' Âge d'Or (Age of Gold) (The Golden Age) 1979,  Unrated)
L' Âge d'Or (Age of Gold) (The Golden Age)
"A lover of darkness, it burrows under stones to escape the glare of the sun. Antisocial, it ejects the intruder on its solitude. Such lightning strikes, such virtuosity in attack! Even a rat, for all its fury, falls prey to it."

L'ÂGE D'OR (1930)

Director: Luis Buñuel
Country: France
Genre: Drama / Romance / Comedy / Fantasy
Length: 63 minutes

The Golden Age,Age of Gold,Luis Bunuel,Luis Buñuel,Surrealism

One year ago (1929, that is), the world witnessed two highly important events in cinema history: the birth of cinematic surrealism and the rise of a genius. The title of the short film is Un Chien Andalou (1929) and the name of the master behind the camera is Luis Buñuel. Juxtaposing incongruent elements with extreme depictions of absurdity along with the vision of the famously unique artist Salvador Dalí, Buñuel decides to construct his first feature film, a landmark in surrealistic filmmaking. L'Âge d'Or ventures into the never-ending realm of the mind's subjectivity and the blaspheme world of the bourgeois class, an aspect that Buñuel would find rather funny during the upcoming four decades, turning it into a filmic habit. Its power and controversy have effectively stood the test of time and it still functions as the masterful work of an audacious machinist of sexual impulses and the morality decadence of man. Despite the huge criticism and the wide banning the film was subject to, Buñuel's first masterpiece has been revived and disseminated through the world as a reminder of how expressive and talented cinema tended to be when the sound was even firstly introduced.

L'Âge d'Or could be referenced as a virtually plot-less and incongruent film, although it mainly deals with a man and a woman who passionately love each other. However, they face problems with their respective families, the surrounding bourgeois society and the Catholic Church when they want to consummate their passion. The film is partially based on Marquis de Sade's "120 Days of Sodom", as clearly implied in a particular orgy sequence. The film was subject to heavy censorship and banning, periods that lasted almost 50 years, such as in France, Australia and Portugal.

Despite being amateurishly shot, cinema itself was in its earliest stages. Surrealism is a cinema branch that has been under constant renovation, innovation and even intentional degradation, thus creating other forms of imaginative visual expressions. For Luis Buñuel, cinema was a cathartic instrument through which he could express ideas that had to be either revealed or morally accepted under a conventional societal code. The main attack would be strictly aimed towards the privileged social classes who would drown in money and hide their stupid and pretentious personalities under false conducts of fanciness and etiquette. As if this scandalous idea, especially for the 30's, wasn't enough, he also throws in a groundbreaking criticism towards the Catholic Church as an institution, rather than insulting a particular religion. With these two huge monsters combined, the missing element is immediately added: a normal couple that is deeply in love. More than interpreting this couple as a rather simple symbolism of the standard citizen of any particular society, the main focus of L'Âge d'Or is the moral extermination of the human race through the blasphemous idolization of religious imagery and a very prophetic portrayal of sexual depravation.

The film opens with a documentary segment of a scorpion, a living being that possesses five prismatic articulations that culminate in a sting. Then, the scorpion proceeds to commit suicide with its own poisonous sting. Are we humans so different, possessing five extremities including the arms, the legs and our twisted heads that originate the ideas of a literal assassination of our own kind? We are reduced to an almost insignificant being that can pass unnoticed, but the truth is divided in layers. On one hand, we have religion, on the other hand, we have a ludicrously wealthy society, and on top of the head we have an atheistic science that denies the real existence of God. All of these elements intertwine in an explosive orgy of bad manners, masturbation, kissing of a religious statue, cadavers and ridiculous suppers, not to mention the Duc de Blangis and his physical resemblance of Christ. Sexual repression is an imminent factor in the development of the events, consequently showing a rather excruciating conclusion if the final sequence is deeply analyzed.

Love is not the principal motor. There is no motor whatsoever. What keeps the engine of the plot running is its spoof nature. To fully comprehend the film, one must understand that the film is an ultimate spoof of every degrading and insulting defect of the world we live in and how, when shown to our very faces, the result is rejection. Why was the film banned by Fascists? Why were Judaism, masonry and revolutionary sectarianism immediately blamed? The answer is rejection. Another answer is hypocrisy. And yet another answer is pride. If the film was not supposed to provide an utterly cathartic feeling to a particular audience, then the outcome came from the very minds of the conservatives. Perhaps Buñuel never intended to insult; he let the scenes of the film to be interpreted in any way the world wanted them to be. Can the consequences of such open-minded attitude be so strong? Naturally, they can. They were. Just like Un Chien Andalou (1929), L'Âge d'Or raped social standards and raised necessary questionings about the people's latter conduct. After all, not a single person can deny its high sensibility, the characteristic that identify us as supposedly rational and emotional beings. The power of this testament was not properly executed because of the particular perspective it was seen with, but Luis Buñuel cannot fully be blamed.

Whereas Jean Conteau's (Le Sang d'un Poète [1930]) surrealist vision abounded in theatrical poetry and occasionally quiet delicacy, Luis Buñuel was far more aggressive and expressed his liberal ideas with an anarchic style while slapping the cheeks of much bigger societal entities. Those are the main reasons that make his first feature film a timeless masterwork of the surrealism genre. It has no scruples and there are no strings attached. The film opens, shows, laughs, shocks and puts the "The End" title on the screen. One could say this is the process that life itself should assimilate, according to this magnificent auteur. It easily belongs to the greatest films ever made and the overall visual style and an elegant cinematography, accompanied by a jovial music, make of this mindless journey a delicious piece of insanity to taste.

Gran Casino 1947,  Unrated)
El Gran Calavera (The Great Madcap) 1949,  Unrated)
El Gran Calavera (The Great Madcap)
Totally forgotten and ignored, this little Bunuel treasure of 1949 (considered as his true comeback after L'Age d'Or) is a terrific and wonderful gem for all of us to learn and enjoy, from the smallest brothers and sisters, to the greatgrandparents. Neorealist elements are still present, but this is Buñuel at his most sentimental.

Los Olvidados (The Young and the Damned) 1952,  Unrated)
Los Olvidados (The Young and the Damned)
"¡Ojalá los mataran a todos antes de nacer!"


Director: Luis Buñuel
País: México
Género: Crimen / Drama
Duración: 85 minutos



Luis Buñuel es otro de mis directores gigantes del cine, y estoy orgulloso de presentarles la primera mejor película de su entera filmografía, la cual está considerada también como una de las mejores películas mexicanas de todos los tiempos por una versión de la revista "SOMOS" publicada en 1994, ocupando el segundo puesto justo después de ¡Vámonos con Pancho Villa! (1936), de Fernando de Fuentes. A pesar de que Luis Buñuel haya nacido en España, me enorgullece decir que Los Olvidados es un verdadero tesoro nacional cuyas generaciones posteriores preservarán afectuosamente con admiración y respeto. Los Olvidados se ha convertido en un ícono del cine nacional y es una de las mejores películas de todos los tiempos. Ésta fue la primera obra maestra que dirigió en México siendo las primeras Gran Casino (Tampico) (1947) y El Gran Calavera (1949), la cual es una película extraordinaria, después de haber dado a luz al surrealismo en Francia con su cortometraje Un Chien Andalou (1929) y su largometraje L'Âge d'Or (1930).

Los Olvidados se sitúa en el Zócalo de la Ciudad de México, la cual es la ciudad más grande del mundo, y retrata la historia de varios jóvenes viviendo en los barrios más pobres de la ciudad en un ambiente lleno de violencia, delincuencia y familias y padres irresponsables. La película fue nominada a 13 Premios Ariel ganando 11 de ellos, uno siendo un Ariel de Oro para Luis Buñuel, los cuales son otorgados por la Academia Mexicana de Ciencias y Artes Cinematográficas enfocándose específicamente al cine mexicano. Las nominaciones de Ariel de Plata que recibió fueron para Mejor Dirección, Mejor Fotografía, Mejor Edición, Mejor Argumento Original, Mejor Escenografía, Mejor Adaptación, Mejor Sonido, Mejor Coactuación Femenina, 2 para Mejor Actuación Infantil, Mejor Actuación Juvenil y Mejor Música de Fondo. Solamente perdió un premio para Mejor Actuación Infantil (Alma Delia Fuentes) y Mejor Música de Fondo. Asimismo ganó el premio de Mejor Director en el Festival de Cannes de 1951.

Los Olvidados es uno de los precursores del movimiento neorrealista que fue creado en Italia en épocas de posguerra, el cual tuvo como mayores exponentes a Roberto Rosellini (Roma, Città Aperta [1945]), Vittorio de Sica (Ladri di Biciclette [1948], Umberto D. [1952]) y Federico Fellini (La Strada [1954], Le Notti di Cabiria [1957]). Los Olvidados es una obra maestra neorrealista. Las condiciones de pobreza son mostradas en su máxima expresión, y la inocencia y las medidas desesperadas de delincuencia y violencia a las cuales los jóvenes recurren sin ningún tipo de ayuda a su alcance ni ninguna autoridad existente que cuide de ellos contrasta grandemente con el ambiente en el que se encuentran. Son estos elementos los que principalmente hacen de Los Olvidados una película difícil y/o deprimente de ver para alguna gente, especialmente si nos remontamos a las épocas de estreno de esta joya.

Ésta es de las primeras películas dentro de la filmografía de Buñuel donde filmó la mayor parte en espacios abiertos. La Ciudad de México siempre se ha caracterizado por su colonial belleza arquitectónica, la cual ha preservado casi completamente incluso hasta nuestros días. Desafortunadamente, cuando antes conformaba un lugar en el que uno podía correr libremente y sentarse en cualquier acera después de haber comprado un helado con los amigos sin ningún peligro, se convirtió en un lugar donde los padres temen mandar a sus hijos solos por los altos índices de secuestros y delincuencia especialmente a partir de los 80's. No es algo que me enorgullezca decir, pero son los elementos realistas que son presentados en Los Olvidados, y la gente no estaba acostumbrado a ver y digerir completamente una realidad tan cruda en la pantalla grande, especialmente cuando por esas épocas el cine retrataba exclusivamente historias (la mayoría de ellas ficticias) que servían al público para escapar u olvidarse de la realidad y de sus vidas temporalmente.

A pesar de que Buñuel contrató a un reparto muy joven y sin experiencia, las actuaciones de cada uno de ellos son extraordinarias. Alfonso Mejía brinda lo que creo que es una de las mejores actuaciones infantiles que he visto en la historia del cine, creando a un personaje cuya alma grita por amor, atención y por ser sacado del enorme abismo de confusión que su corta vida ha conformado hasta ese punto. Curiosamente me recuerda mucho al personaje "Chava" de la película de Luis Mandoki Voces Inocentes (2004). Roberto Cobo, quien juega el papel del personaje antagónico "El Jaibo", crea un personaje crudo, frío, quien nació para vivir y ajustarse a la cruel realidad que la Ciudad de México encierra. Alma Delia Fuentes también brinda una actuación digna de mención honorífica en su papel de "Meche".

Lo impresionante de Los Olvidados no es su guión ni su trama necesariamente (la cual de por sí es bastante buena), sino la dirección que Luis Buñuel llevó a cabo, y el esfuerzo por parte del reparto que la película requería. El manejo de cámara en los espacios de la ciudad así como en los sets es fenomenal. La música no será extraordinaria, pero es bastante memorable y tiene un toque bello a la vez. El guión está lo suficientemente bien estructurado como para llevarnos con efectividad de un evento a otro. Naturalmente, el surrealismo de Buñuel se hace presenta en la famosa secuencia del sueño que Pedro tiene, y es una de las escenas simbólicas más poderosas que se encuentran en la película. Como es de esperarse, el final es devastador. Por supuesto que se filmó un final alternativo, el cual había sido clasificado como "feliz", pero dado la naturaleza de la película, obviamente no funcionaba. No es que no sea partidario de los finales felices, pero simplemente deben funcionar si van a ser usados.

Definitivamente el neorrealismo no es un género del cine que sea alentador u optimista de ver, ni uno puede salir del cine sonriendo o con un buen estado de ánimo. Tampoco es deprimente; es simplemente reflexivo, y en un alto grado. ¿Qué tanto debería valorar mis condiciones de vida actuales? ¿Qué tanto se asemeja la realidad retratada en el neorrealismo a la vida real, y a mi época actual? ¿Qué es lo que puedo hacer yo para mejorar la situación en caso de que esté en mis manos? A pesar de que alguien pueda dar respuestas que él/ella clasifique como universales, la verdad es que la respuesta que más nos convenza y motive está en nosotros mismos. La respuesta que más me convence es que lo que está en nuestras manos es luchar por un México mejor dentro de la medida de lo posible. Podemos hacer de nuestro país un lugar mucho mejor para vivir aún si no se pertenece a la política. La política misma es la que se ha convertido en un monstruo que la sociedad debe de combatir con el paso de las décadas, lo cual es un hecho tanto triste como aterrador. Sin embargo, la victoria nos puede pertenecer, no con guerras, sino con la propia convicción y fortaleza de espíritu que cada uno de nosotros tengamos. Los Olvidados puede clasificarse de alguna manera como una llamada de atención al país (y a bastantes partes del mundo también) para abrirles los ojos a la realidad en que vivimos, y a mejorar el futuro del mundo, el cual son los niños.

Estoy completamente orgulloso de decir que Los Olvidados es la mejor película mexicana de todos los tiempos y es uno de los mejores ejemplos de lo que el cine pudo brindar en su tan famosa y aclamada Época de Oro. En realidad no me importa que Buñuel, siendo uno de mis directores gigantes del cine, haya sido el responsable de la creación de esta joya, la cual también fue considerada como Patrimonio de la Humanidad por parte de la UNESCO, junto con la obra maestra Metropolis (1927) de Fritz Lang. Todos los departamentos de cinematografía, maquillaje, dirección de arte, edición, manejo de cámaras, música y dirección, sin mencionar los escritores del guión que no recibieron crédito con Buñuel, son en su mayoría mexicanos, así como el maravilloso reparto. Es más, debo agradecerle. ¡MUCHAS GRACIAS BUÑUEL! ¡VIVA MÉXICO!



Luis Buñuel is another giant director of cinema for me, and I am proud to present to you the first best film out of his entire filmography, which is also considered as one of the best Mexican films of all time by the 100th edition of a Mexican magazine called "SOMOS" published in the year of 1994, reaching the 2nd spot just after ¡Vámonos con Pancho Villa! (1936), directed by Fernando de Fuentes. Although Luis Buñuel was born in Spain, I am really proud to say that Los Olvidados is a true national treasure of which its future generations would affectionately preserve with admiration and respect. Los Olvidados has become into an icon of our national cinema and the best part of all of this is that it is also one of the best films ever made. This was the first masterpiece that Buñuel directed in Mexico being the first ones Gran Casino (Tampico) (1947) and El Gran Calavera (1949), which is an extraordinary film, after he gave birth to Surrealism in France with his short Un Chien Andalou (1929) and his feature film L'Âge d'Or (1930).

Los Olvidados is set on the main square of Mexico's City better known as the "Zócalo", which is by the way the biggest city in the world, and portrays the story of several young children and teens living in the poorest neighborhoods of the city in an environment full of violence, delinquency and families with irresponsible parents. The film received 13 Ariel Awards winning 11 out of all of those, one being a Golden Ariel for Luis Buñuel, which are awards given by the Mexican Academy of Cinematographic Arts and Sciences that specifically focus to Mexican movie industry. The Silver Ariel nominations it received were for Best Direction, Best Cinematography, Best Editing, Best Original Story, Best Production Design, Best Screenplay, Best Sound, Best Supporting Actress, 2 for Best Child Actor/Actress, Best Young Actor/Actress and Best Score. Los Olvidados lost only the awards for Best Child Actor/Actress (Alma Delia Fuentes) and for Best Score. It also won in the Cannes Film Festival of 1951 the award for Best Director.

Los Olvidados is one of the precursors of the neorealist movement that was created in Italy during the post-war period , which had as its most relevant authors Roberto Rosellini (Roma, Città Aperta [1945]), Vittorio de Sica (Ladri di Biciclette [1948], Umberto D. [1952]) and Federico Fellini (La Strada [1954], Le Notti di Cabiria [1957]). Los Olvidados is a neorealist masterpiece. Te poverty conditions which are shown in the film at their most graphic detail, and the innocence and desperate measures of delinquency and violence to which the young characters resort to without any kind of help that is at their reach and without any existent authority that is able to properly take care of them greatly contrasts with the environment and the world they live in. These are the elements which mostly make of Los Olvidados a difficult and/or depressing film to watch for some people, especially if we consider the period in which this gem was released.

This film is among the first movies that can be found in Buñuel's filmography where he shot most of the scenes in open spaces. Mexico City has always been characterized by its architectonic colonial beauty, which has been almost completely preserved even nowadays. Unfortunately, when it was once a place in which one could freely run in the streets and sit down on the sidewalk eating an ice-cream with your friends without any danger, it has become a place of which the parents fear to send their children alone because of the high kidnapping and delinquency rates which started to increase around the 80's. That's definitely not something I'm particularly proud of saying, but those are the realistic elements that are depicted in Los Olvidados, and people were not used to see and completely digest such a crude reality on the big screen, especially when cinema exclusively portrayed stories (most of them ficticious) that allowed the public to temporarily escape from reality or to forget about their lives for a moment by those times.

Although Buñuel hired a very young and inexperienced cast, the performances of each and every one of them were extraordinary. Alfonso Mejía offers what I think is one of the best child performances I've ever seen in the history of cinema, creating a character whose soul desperately screams for love and attention so he can be rescued from the enormous abysm of confusion that his life has led him to so far. He oddly reminds me a lot of the character called "Chava" from the film Voces Inocentes (2004) directed by Luis Mandoki. Roberto Cobo, who plays the antagonic character's role "El Jaibo", creates a crude, cold-blooded character that was born to live and to settle in the cruel reality that Mexico City contains. Alma Delia Fuentes also gave a performance worth mentioning thanks to her role as "Meche".

An impressive aspect about Los Olvidados is not necessarily its script or its plot (which is spectacular, by the way), but the direction by Luis Buñuel and the effort put by the whole crew which the film required. The camera work within both the city's open spaces and the constructed sets in phenomenal. The music may not be extraordinary, but it is pretty memorable and has a beautiful touch at the same time. The script is so well-structured that it effectively takes us from one event to another. Naturally, Buñuel's surrealism is present in the famous dream sequence that Pedro has, and is one of the most powerful symbolic scenes that can be found in the movie. As expected, the ending is devastating. Of course that an alternate ending was filmed, which had been classified as "the happy one", but due to the nature of the film, it obviously didn't work at all. It's not that I'm not in favor of happy endings, but these should just fine if they are going to be used.

The neorealism is certainly not an encouraging or optimistic cinema genre to see, so you just can't get out of the movie theater smiling or feeling with a great enthusiasm. It is not depressing either; it's simply a reflexive one, and at a high level. How much should I value my current life conditions? How similar is the reality portrayed in the neorealism to both real life and my current time? What can I do to improve such situation in case that it is under my control? Although somebody may end up giving answer to this questions that this person classifies as "universal" or "general", the truth is that the right answer lies beneath our very conviction and is the one that truly motivates us. The answer that convinces me the most is that fighting for a better Mexico within the range of the possible is in our hands. We can make this country (even this world) a better place to live in even if we are not related to politics. Politics is the one that has transformed itself into a monster which society most fight against with the pass of the decades, a reality that is sad just as it is terrifying. However, victory can belong to us, not through wars, but through our own conviction and inner soul strength that each one of us has. Los Olvidados can be somehow considered as a wake up call for our country (and for several parts of the world as well) so they can open their eyes to the reality we live in and improve the future of the world, which is the children.

I'm completely proud of saying that Los Olvidados is the best Mexican film of all time for my taste and is one of the best examples of what cinema could offer in its famous and acclaimed Golden Age. I actually don't care that Buñuel, who is one of the best directors of movie history that ever lived, had been responsible for the creation of this timeless masterwork, which was also registered in the "Memory of the World-Register" of the UNESCO alongside with Fritz Lang's Metropolis (1927). Every single department including cinematography, make-up, art direction, editing, camera work, music and direction, without mentioning the screenwriters that didn't receive credit along with Buñuel, are most of them Mexican, just like the cast. In fact, I should thank this guy. THANK YOU VERY MUCH, BUÑUEL! ¡VIVA MÉXICO!

Susana (The Devil and the Flesh) 1983,  Unrated)
Susana (The Devil and the Flesh)
The billion dollar question can be found in the film's (nonexistent) suggested tagline: "What's wrong with Susana?" She, the incarnation of an obsession attempting to conquer its surroundings, an obsession propelled by internal turmoil, unexplainable to us, maybe even to Susana herself. Buñuel authorized to offer a subtitle to the title: "The Devil and the Flesh". These two elements, however, are not necessarily related to Susana at the same time. After all, the household to which she arrives is not an entirely idealized representation of a humble and hospitable Christian family (in many ways, they are the opposite to every single adjective I listed). It is not a household in ruins, but the members of the family and the native workers happen to have exactly the required personal defects to construct a machinery easy to disturb, and this is the role of Susana. Ironically enough, many of her adventures and questionable deeds clearly intended to disrupt the family's balance backfire against her. But in a way, she seems to be conscious about this, like if it was a payment that she was willing to make. The irony, however, is not only that one. Buñuel shows the other side of the coin of a rather possessive family under the patriarchal family tradition that predominated so pervasively in post-war Mexico: the chauvinist and contradictory natives and workers, the domineering husband that defends a seemingly defenseless woman and defending her dignity because she deserves respect while hypocritically showing disrespect to his wife, a wrongfully raised adolescent that cannot see beyond the immediate consequences of his decisions, and an extremely religious Catholic fanatic who, ironically enough, was the character with the most vision the whole time (haha, that poor Buñuel and his eternal conflict with his religious upbringing). Although the ending can be perceived as melodramatically forced today, it mirrors the family morals of Mexico during the 50s and discreetly hides a valuable message despite the aggressive tones of criticism that Buñuel always wanted to scream aloud in every single film he made, no matter how subtle they were at the end. Despite being a lesser film by the cinema giant, the entire experience is compensated by the depth of its psychological truths if read correctly between the lines, and its undeniable entertainment value. The Devil is in all of us, and his vehicle is the Flesh... How to fight against it?? "O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin. There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit." Romans 7:24 - 8:1 75/100
La Hija del engaño (Daughter of Deceit) 1951,  Unrated)
La Hija del engaño (Daughter of Deceit)
Constantly shifting from melodrama to a questionable screwball comedy, La Hija del Engaño is another sample of Buñuel's attempt to find a distinguishable trademark in the Mexican culture. We really represented a challenge for him.

Subida al cielo (Mexican Bus Ride)(Ascent to Heaven) 1954,  Unrated)
Subida al cielo (Mexican Bus Ride)(Ascent to Heaven)
A fun ride with Buñuel. Laughs, lessons and hilarious events all the way through. His now legendary surrealism couldn't be absent in this classic Mexican gem.

Una Mujer sin amor (A Woman Without Love) 1951,  Unrated)
El Bruto (The Brute) 1953,  Unrated)
El (This Strange Passion) (Torments) 1953,  Unrated)
El (This Strange Passion) (Torments)
Well, what an intriguing conclusion! Why on Earth would Buñuel finish off the overbearing attitude of your typical macho bastard in the way he decided too (notice my spoiler-free intentions). Is he being sarcastic? We know his opinions on such matters.

Sorry, but had to speak my mind. I still see it as a puzzle.

Illusion Travels by Streetcar (La Ilusion viaja en tranvia) 1954,  Unrated)
Illusion Travels by Streetcar (La Ilusion viaja en tranvia)
A celebration of absurd and jolly neorealism, which itself is a concept very alienated from Buñuel's general style, and still he displays a massive amount of empathy towards a rural Mexico plagued by folclore and man's insatiable passion for women. A Streetcar Named Illusion would have been the best spoof title in history.

Wuthering Heights (Abismos de pasión) 1954,  Unrated)
Luis Bunuel's Robinson Crusoe 1954,  Unrated)
El Río y la muerte (The River and Death) 1955,  Unrated)
El Río y la muerte (The River and Death)
Stories like this abounded in Mexico even before the 50s started. Despite being the typical revenge plot depicting the ancient life of rural Mexico, Buñuel's adaptation to Mexico's customs was beginning to adopt a form.

The Criminal Life of Archibaldo de la Cruz (Ensayo de un crimen)(Rehearsal for a Crime) 1955,  Unrated)
The Criminal Life of Archibaldo de la Cruz (Ensayo de un crimen)(Rehearsal for a Crime)
Frustration is the path to psychopathic behaviors but the ultimate desperation comes with inevitable idiocy and the impossibility of putting one's macabre ideas into practice. Suddenly, a normal serial killer is transformed into a victim of his own existence, and the escape route becomes a much more difficult one. Original masterpiece.

Cela s'appelle l'aurore (That is the Dawn) 1956,  Unrated)
Death in the Garden (La Mort en ce jardin) 1956,  Unrated)
Nazarín 1958,  Unrated)
So, why are so few films that capture the nature of Jesus Christ accurately? Let's throw away the fact that the Hollywood stamp, false rumors and flat, hipocrytical and inaccurate characters are always present. Also, let's exclude the religious fanatics with a narrow-minded perspective. Buñuel always exalted religion and destroyed the Catholic Church as the monstrous, almost bourgeois human institution it always represented throughout the centuries. Nazarín is shown as a modernist Christ, and through the surreal and experimental, neorealist scope of Buñuel, this testament is innovation in avant-garde storytelling. It's a more conventional film by this giant auteur, but words won't suffice for describing the genius, accuracy and originality of divinity and faith seen through the eyes of a vulnerable man, featuring one of the most grandiose catharsis ever put to celluloid.

La Fièvre monte à El Pao (Republic of Sin) (Fever Rises in El Pao) 1959,  Unrated)
The Young One (Island of Shame) (White Trash) (La Joven) 1960,  Unrated)
Viridiana 1961,  R)
"Ya decía yo que mi prima Viridiana acabaría jugando al tute conmigo."


Director: Luis Buñuel
País: España / México
Género: Drama
Duración: 90 minutos

Viridiana,Silvia Pinal,Fernando Rey,Luis Bunuel,Luis Buñuel


Ser un personal admirador de Luis Buñuel conlleva, de alguna manera, demasiada responsabilidad en cuanto a admiración artística y estética se refiere. Prohibida en España y totalmente denunciada por el Vaticano, Viridiana es una de las mejores películas española de todos los tiempos, una coproducción escandalosa con México que alude al despertar del espiritualismo del ser humano y referencia las emociones más controversiales que una persona, independientemente de sus creencias y posturas religiosas en particular, suele guardar en las capas más íntimas de su persona. Buñuel aún se aferra al estilo de La Edad de Oro del cine mexicano y le añade simbolismos pequeños encarnados por objetos que todo el tiempo estuvieron ahí, hasta que se decide mostrarse en pantalla de manera repentina. Probablemente sería este estilo de filmación y misticismo parcial el cual inspiraría a Tarkovsky optar por su profunda religiosidad y crear una de las mejores películas en la historia del cine: Andrey Rublyov (1966). Sin embargo, el maestro Luis Buñuel conglomera símbolos misteriosos y los esparce en cada escena mostrada a través de una cámara que, implícitamente, lleva al espectador a la epifánica conclusión de que la película tiene demasiados ideales anárquicos que mostrar, una vez más atacando a la institución de la Iglesia Católica y a la pretenciosa gente que la conforma.

Viridiana es una monja idealista que está punto de tomar sus últimos votos. A petición de la Madre Superiora, Viridiana visita a su tío Don Jaime, un hombre quien le proveyó de bienes y financió su educación. Ella posee una opinión considerablemente baja acerca de su personalidad; sin embargo, acepta finalmente la petición antes de consolidar su carrera religiosa. Cuando llega a su mansión, se encuentra simplemente con un conserje, un ama de llaves y con un hombre viviendo solitariamente, afligiéndose constantemente por la muerte de su esposa, una mujer quien poseía una gran semejanza física con Viridiana, lo cual causará que ella se enfrente a un destino brutal. Luis Buñuel ganó una Palma de Oro en el Festival Internacional de Cine de Cannes de 1961, la cual empató con Henri Colpi por su película Une Aussi Longue Abscence (1961).

Dos leyendas inmortales del cine, una mexicana (Silvia Pinal, quien interpreta a Viridiana) y otra española (Fernando Rey, quien interpreta al tío Don Jaime), colisionan en un choque masivo de alegoría religiosa, temas delicados vistos desde un punto de vista blasfemo y escándalo sexual. La delicadeza de Buñuel para dividir la historia de la monja Viridiana en diversos capítulos puede ser una estructura narrativa cuyas principales características puedan ser comparadas inmediatamente con cualquier texto bíblico que use a la prostitución, el rechazo de la sumisión personal a la voluntad de Dios y la falsa ilusión del hombre en cuanto a que él es el dueño de su vida como sus elementos epifánicos principales. Es ésta estructura narrativa la que divide a la historia en diferentes capas, cada una de ellas representando distintas debilidades de la irrevocable y fácilmente corruptible condición humana. Más que un ataque indirecto a la institución de la Iglesia, lo cual resultó en una reacción violenta y más que obvia por parte del Vaticano, el personaje sumamente femenino y parcialmente estereotípico de Viridiana puede ser contrastado con la forzadamente incrédula personalidad de Nazarín, un hombre que debía presenciar hechos increíbles y ser objeto de visiones reveladoras para poder justificar la Fe, algo que no requiere de dichos elementos. Viridiana, por su lado, expresamente intenta alejarse de la voluntad de Dios pese a las advertencias de la Madre Superiora, explicándole claramente la soberbia que dicha decisión implicaba.

Por las características previamente mencionadas, Viridiana se divide en dos capítulos, los cuales podrían ser titulados como "La Pasión de Viridiana" y "La Última Cena". En el primer capítulo, es su propio egoísmo y orgullo, los cuales son probablemente involuntarios en ella, lo que la hacen decidir alejarse de la voluntad de Dios, tomar decisiones por su cuenta y hacer justicia por sus propias manos. Sin embargo, esta falsedad es enaltecida por la perspectiva idealista que posee hacia el mundo. Esta visión es rota en pedazos a partir de la violación que sufre por parte de su tío, un hombre cuyos deseos carnales eran su máxima prioridad y, una vez satisfechas en el proceso de llenar un vacío insuperable según su mentalidad, acaricia su navaja con forma de crucifijo y se suicida antes de que pueda ser denunciado a las autoridades. Este hecho insólito arranca el segundo capítulo, donde Viridiana decide aceptar a una amplia comunidad de indigentes a la mansión que ahora ha está siendo envidiada por su brusco primo Jorge, interpretado por Jorge Rabal, culminando en una de las más blasfemas representaciones de La Última Cena jamás filmadas. Por consiguiente, la película no posee una sola secuencia climática, sino dos. La justicia adquiere un alto tono de relatividad. Desde un punto de vista católico y posiblemente cristiano, el final devastador que muestra a Viridiana completamente perdida, alejada de Dios, es certero. El Dios representado por Buñuel no necesariamente se interpreta como un control de población o como el opio de las masas, sino como el único camino para lograr alcanzar la divinidad que humanamente no es posible conseguir. Materialismo contra la religión es un concepto cuya ambición sobrepasa los límites de cualquier expectativa, especialmente las expectativas que se tenían en los sesentas. Dicho esto, las principales ideas expresadas por Viridiana forzosamente debían poseer cualidades catárticas, principalmente estableciendo el hecho de que la caridad no puede ofuscar la corrupción de una sociedad tan degradada y que el hombre, por su propia cuenta, jamás podrá alcanzar la vida eterna, no importa cuántas normas y conductas supuestamente religiosas y universalmente correctas uno aplique en su vida. El único juez es Dios, no el orgullo humano proveniente de un ateísmo incorregible.

El homenaje de Luis Buñuel a un neorrealismo deprimente resulta en una de sus películas más brutalmente honestas y memorables. Viridiana es más que un llamado a la vida; es una invitación a remover la venda que nublan los ojos humanos de cualquier forma de comunicación que Dios pueda tener con nosotros. En este caso, una actuación magistral y poderosa por parte de Silvia Pinal era necesaria para fortalecer las conclusiones a las que Viridiana, pese a su corta duración, logra llegar sin la más mínima dificultad. Buñuel aún no tenía un completo control artístico sobre sus producciones, algo que sucedería hasta El Ángel Exterminador (1962), pero la poética cinematografía y las locaciones fílmicas de España añaden efectividad al trabajo de un elenco menormente mexicano, convirtiéndola en un orgullo también para México. Su poder puede causar revelaciones difíciles de aceptar la primera vez, pero ése es uno de los mensajes más verdaderos que a Dios mismo se le ha ocurrido transmitir a través de la magia del cine.



To be a personal admirer of Luis Buñuel somehow entails a great deal of responsibility, particularly concerning artistic and aesthetic admiration. Banned in Spain and utterly denounced by the Vatican, Viridiana is one of the best Spanish films of all times, a scandalous Mexican coproduction that alludes to the awakening of the spiritualism of the human being and references the most controversial emotions that a person, independently of the beliefs and religious opinions he or she may particularly have, is used to hide inside the deepest layers of his/her persona. Buñuel is still attached to the Golden Age of Mexican cinema and he adds to it rather small symbolisms that are embodied by objects that were there all the time until he decides to show them on screen in a sudden way. This filmmaking style and partial mysticism were the ones that would probably inspire Tarkovsky to opt for his profound religiosity in order to create one of the best films in cinema history: Andrey Rublyov (1966). Nevertheless, master Luis Buñuel conglomerates mysterious symbols and scatters them throughout each portrayed scene through a camera that, implicitly, leads the spectator to the epiphanic conclusion that the film has several anarchic ideals to show while attacking the institution of the Catholic Church and the pretentious people that constitute it.

Viridiana is an idealist nun who is about to take her last vows. At the request of her Mother Superior, Viridiana visits his uncle Don Jaime, a man who provided for her and founded her education. She possesses a considerably low opinion regarding his personality; however, she finally accepts the petition before consolidating her religious career. When she arrives to the mansion, she simply finds a caretaker, a housekeeper and a man living solitarily, constantly getting upset because of the death of his wife, a woman who had a high physical resemblance to Viridiana, a fact that would cause her to face a brutal destiny. Luis Buñuel won a Golden Palm at the Cannes Film festival of 1961, a prize that he shared with Henri Corpi and his film Une Aussi Longue Absence (1961).

Two immortal legends of cinema, one of them Mexican (Silvia Pinal, who plays the role of Viridiana) and the other one Spanish (Fernando Rey, who plays the role of uncle Don Jaime), collide in a massive clash of religious allegory, delicate subject matter seen from a blasphemous point of view and sexual scandal. The delicacy of Buñuel for dividing the story of the soon-to-be-nun Viridiana in several chapters can be a narrative structure which main characteristics can be immediately compared with any biblical text that uses prostitution, the rejection of the personal submission to the will of God and the false illusion of man concerning that he is the owner of his life as its principal epiphanic elements. This is the narrative structure that divides the story in different layers, each one of them representing different weaknesses of the irrevocable and easily-corruptible human condition. More than being an indirect attack towards the institution of the Church, an attack that resulted in a more-than-obvious violent reaction from the Vatican, the exceedingly female and partially stereotypical character of Viridiana can be contrasted with the forcedly skeptical personality of Nazarín, a man who had to witness unusual events and to be object of revealing visions so he could justify Faith, something that does not require such elements. Viridiana, on the other hand, expressly attempts to stay away from the will of God despite the warnings she received from her Mother Superior, clearly explaining to her the haughtiness that such decision implied.

Because of the aforementioned characteristics, Viridiana is divided into two chapters, chapters that could be titled as "The Passion of Viridiana" and "The Last Supper". In the first chapter, it is her own arrogance and pride, characteristics that are probably intentional within her personality, the ones that make her to stay away from the will of God, to take decisions by her own and to make justice with her own hands. Nonetheless, such falseness is enhanced by the idealistic perspective she possesses towards the world. This vision is shattered into pieces since the moment she is raped by her uncle, a man whose carnal desires were his most relevant priorities and, once that they were satisfied in the process of filling an insurmountable void according to his mentality, caresses his crucifix-shaped knife and commits suicide before he could be reported to the authorities. This shocking event marks the start of the second chapter where Viridiana decides to invite a wide community of poverty-stricken individuals to the mansion that is now being envied by her brusque cousin Jorge, played by actor Jorge Rabal, culminating in one of the most blaspheme representations of The Last Supper ever filmed. Consequently, the movie does not posses one single climatic sequence, but two. Justice acquires a high tone of relativity. From a Catholic point of view and possibly also a Christian one, the devastating finale that shows Viridiana as a completely lost and estranged-from-God woman, is accurate. The God represented by Buñuel is not necessarily interpreted as a population control or as the opium of the masses, but as the only path in order to reach the divinity that, humanly, is not possible to gain. Materialism against religion is a concept which ambition surpasses the limits of any expectation, especially the expectations that were held in the 60s. Having said this, the main ideas expressed by Viridiana forcedly had to possess cathartic qualities, principally establishing the fact that charity cannot dazzle the corruption of a much diminished society and that man will never be able to reach eternal life by his own, no matter how many norms and supposedly religious and universally correct conducts one applies in his life. The only judge is God, not the human pride that comes from an incorrigible atheism.

The homage of Luis Buñuel to a depressing neorealism results in one of his most brutally honest and memorable feature films. Viridiana is more than a simple call to life; it is an invitation to remove the bandage that clouds the human eyes from any form of communication that God may have with us. In this case, one masterly powerful performance from Silvia Pinal was necessary to strengthen the conclusions to which Viridiana, despite its relatively short running time, achieves to reach without the slightest difficulty. Buñuel had not a complete artistic control over his productions, something that would happen until El Ángel Exterminador (1962), but the poetical cinematography and the filming locations of Spain add effectiveness to the work of a majorly Spanish cast, converting it into a prideful success for Mexico as well. Its power may cause revelations that will be difficult to accept when witnessed for the first time, but that is one of the most truthful messages that God Himself has thought of transmitting through the magic of cinema.

El Ángel Exterminador (The Exterminating Angel) 1967,  Unrated)
El Ángel Exterminador (The Exterminating Angel)
- ¡Mira allí! No... ¡En la cumbre! ¿Lo ves?
- ¡El Papa!
- Sí, él es. ¡Qué lleno de majestad; qué solemne! Se diría un guerrero.


Director: Luis Buñuel
País: México
Género: Drama / Fantasía / Misterio
Duración: 95 minutos



Si bien alguna vez he visto en mi vida una directa y brillante crítica social hacia la clase alta y la burguesía, Luis Buñuel, quien es uno de mis directores gigantes del cine, es a quien debería agradecer. Me resulta un concepto bastante inteligente y bien pensado el hecho de que Buñuel, quien básicamente creó el surrealismo en el cine con su cortometraje Un Chien Andalou (1929) y con su largometraje L'Âge d'Or (1930), mezclara dicho género con su incomparable talento de dirección para crear una de las más astutas críticas a la clase alta que jamás he visto en el Séptimo Arte. El Ángel Exterminador es ciertamente la primera película surrealista de este tipo, temática que después usaría en su filmografía francesa que incluye la obra maestra Le Charme Discret de la Bourgeoisie (1972) y Le Fantôme de la Liberté (1974). Asimismo, El Ángel Exterminador difiere de cualquier otro proyecto cinematográfico que Buñuel haya realizado en México, pues a pesar de que tenía la costumbre de añadir pequeñas pizcas de surrealismo en películas como Los Olvidados (1950) y Subida al Cielo (1952), éstas eran básicamente melodramas y El Ángel Exterminador cae ya en el género de fantasía.

La película cuenta la simple historia de una lujosa fiesta exclusiva para la clase alta que se llevará a cabo por parte de Leticia, a quien comúnmente se le llama "La Valkiria". Una vez concluida la cena, los invitados desean salir de la mansión, pero para su enorme sorpresa les resulta imposible salir. Sus estándares sociales y elegantes costumbres y forma de comportamiento se ven reducidos gradualmente a los instintos más primitivos del hombre cuando se ven forzados a sobrevivir con animales y como animales con el paso del tiempo. La película fue nominada a una Palma de Oro en el Festival de Cannes, y definitivamente fue una batalla dura. Luis Buñuel merecía la nominación, pero dado el hecho de que directores como Agnés Varda por Cléo de 5 à 7 (1962), Pietro Germi por Divorzio All'italiana (1961), Michelangelo Antonioni por L'eclisse (1962) y Robert Bresson por Procés de Jeanne d'Arc (1962) competían por el premio, comprendo que no haya ganado. Sin embargo, no estoy de acuerdo con que Anselmo Duarte haya ganado por O Pagador de Promessas (1962).

El Ángel Exterminador posee una dirección simplemente extraordinaria, y es en su dirección donde uno como espectador siente el completo control creativo y libertad artística de Buñuel sobre la película a diferencia de las que dirigió anteriormente. El guión y los diálogos también fueron creados por Buñuel, y funciona de una manera fantástica. Cada escena no está de sobra y, gracias al altamente adecuado ritmo de la película, encaja perfectamente en la historia. La edición es bastante decente, incluyendo en la secuencia del sueño que uno de los personajes tiene, la cual es tanto tétrica como cómica. La película posee un buen manejo de la cámara, aunque la mayoría toma parte en un espacio cerrado, el cual es la mansión de la cena. Todos los detalles están sumamente cuidados, considerando el hecho de que hay bastantes actores en escena a la vez realizando actividades diferentes antes y después de la ridícula situación difícil en la que finalmente se encuentran. Las actuaciones son muy acordes al tipo de personas que están retratando, y el show es obviamente robado completamente por Silvia Pinal, quien va adquiriendo distintas facetas conforme pasa el tiempo. A diferencia de Viridiana (1961), su personaje de "La Valkiria" se aleja del aspecto espiritual y adopta uno mucho más elegante, pero ególatra y cómico a la vez.

El Ángel Exterminador es una sátira trágica llena de simbolismos e imposible fantasía. La película tiene tantas interpretaciones como número de personas que la ha visto, y es ése el tipo de obras maestras que funcionan a la perfección, sobre todo cuando es decisión misma del director dejar el significado a la interpretación abierta de cada persona. Es por ello que haré énfasis en un punto importante: Todas las ideas que esté a punto de expresar en el siguiente comentario son mi propia interpretación del filme, las cuales pueden ser puestas a discusión, pues gran parte de la magia de este maravilloso proyecto surrealista se origina de esa posibilidad.

La trama no solamente está manejada con un humor sofisticado, sino con una irreverente absurdez de los aspectos más bajos de la sociedad lujosa. Nosotros siendo tan inactivos mentalmente y menos críticos con el paso del tiempo, Buñuel probablemente utilizó elementos exagerados (algunas veces hasta infantiles) para clarificar el extremo ridículo que quería representar, convirtiendo a la burguesía que los estándares sociales han hecho "respetable" en algo de lo que todo mundo podría burlarse. La incapacidad de los burgueses de salir del cuarto puede ser interpretado como un elemento cómico que involuntariamente "justifica" las atrocidades que la Iglesia ha cometido durante tantos siglos en la historia de la humanidad, pues a pesar de que dentro del grupo podemos encontrar a doctores y coroneles de guerra, la Iglesia tiene una pesada influencia como protagonista implícito. La religión no se salva de la blasfemia. En los libros de Moisés en el Antiguo Testamento principalmente, se hacen constantes referencias al ritual de sacrificios llevado a cabo por los sacerdotes, lo cual conllevaba a un proceso de purificación. También se menciona como la gente sin la presencia de Dios en su vida suele ser como ovejas sin pastor. Ello me trae a la mente la escena final, en donde una masacre está tomando a lugar en las calles mientras la Iglesia se ve sujeta a la misma maldición, así como sus seguidores, estando separados de la sociedad. La pérdida de la virginidad resulta en liberación y epifanía, y las ovejas pueden simbolizar a la gente literalmente dirigiéndose hacia un matadero. Asimismo, esta incapacidad simboliza la idiotez sin fondo en que la clase alta suele caer una vez que sus propias personalidades permiten ser absorbidas en el orgullo y en la falsa imagen de superioridad que ciegamente consideran tener sobre el resto de la sociedad. Cuando se ven forzados a salir de sus propios mundos, los cuales son representados físicamente en el cuarto en el que se encuentran atrapados como leones enjaulados, simplemente se niegan a hacerlo y recurren a todo medio posible, sin importar qué tan ridículo éste resulte ser, para permanecer en ellos. La principal razón puede ser el orgullo que poseen, a pesar de que las motivaciones de los personajes jamás son explicadas claramente.

El Ángel Exterminador puede resultar una película controversial y sumamente ofensiva para cierta gente por su alto grado de burla y sátira brillante. Es interesante el contexto en que Buñuel dirigió esta película, pues justo después de haber representado la pobreza en su más gráfico detalle, se va al extremo opuesto, tratando la constante lucha entre clases sociales como un tema principal. Buñuel consideró a El Ángel Exterminador como uno de sus fracasos, pues afirma que de haberla podido hacer en París, hubiera hecho que los personajes incluso llegaran a extremos más intensos. Sin embargo, la idea claramente se entiende, y considero a esta película mejor que cualquier otra surrealista que haya realizado en el futuro sin considerar al corto Un Chien Andalou (1929). Gracias a Viridiana (1961), Buñuel se convirtió en uno de los directores blasfemos más controversiales de su época siendo censurado (irónicamente) por la Iglesia, y con El Ángel Exterminador sus ideas son establecidas y fortalecidas justo antes de que volviera a Francia. El Ángel Exterminador es una obra maestra maravillosamente absurda y graciosamente única en su género.



If I have actually seen a brilliant and very direct social criticism about the upper and bourgeois class before, Luis Buñuel, who is one of my giant directors of cinema, is the guy who I should really thank. The fact that Buñuel, who basically gave birth to surrealism in cinema with his short film Un Chien Andalou (1929) and his feature film L'Âge d'Or (1930), mixed this genre with his incomparable direction talent for creating one of the smartest criticisms aimed towards the upper class I have ever seen in the history of the Seventh Art is a highly intelligent and well-thought concept for me. El Ángel Exterminador is certainly the first surrealist film of this kind, a thematic element that he will later use frequently in his French filmography which includes the masterpiece Le Charme Discret de la Bourgeoisie (1972) and Le Fantôme de la Liberté (1974). Also, El Ángel Exterminador differs from any other cinematographic project that Buñuel completed while being in Mexico, since although he had the habit of adding little and brief sequences of surrealism in his films such as in Los Olvidados (1950) and Subida al Cielo (1952), these movies were basically melodramas and El Ángel Exterminador falls already into the genre of fantasy as a film.

The movie itself has a very simple story about a luxurious party, exclusively aimed for the upper class that would be organized by Leticia, who is commonly named "La Valkiria" for funny reasons mentioned in the film. Once that the dinner has concluded, the guests desire to leave the mansion, but as surprising and unbelievable as it may seem, they just find it impossible to get out. Their social standards and elegant habits and behavior manners are gradually reduced to the most primitive instincts of man when they are forced to survive like animals and with animals with the pass of time. The movie was nominated for a Golden Palm in the Cannes Film Festival, and it was definitely a very tough battle. Luis Buñuel deserved the nomination, but since directors such as Agnés Varda for Cléo de 5 à 7 (1962), Pietro Germi for Divorzio All'italiana (1961), Michelangelo Antonioni for L'eclisse (1962) and Robert Bresson for Procés de Jeanne d'Arc (1962) were competing for the prize, I understand that Buñuel hadn't won. However, I disagree with Anselmo Duarte winning the award for his film O Pagador de Promessas (1962).

El Ángel Exterminador has a simply extraordinary direction by Buñuel, and it is in his direction where one as a spectator is able to feel the complete creative control and artistic freedom that he had over the movie unlike the films he previously directed. The script and the dialogues were also created by Buñuel and all of them work fantastically. Each scene was necessary and, thanks to the highly adequate pace of the film, perfectly fit into the story. The editing is pretty much decent, including the dream sequence that one of the characters has, which is dismal just as it is comical. The movie has a great camera handle considering that most of the film takes place in a closed space, which is the mansion where the dinner was held. Every single detail is extremely taken care of, considering the fact that there are several actors in a scene at once making different activities before and after the utterly ridiculous and difficult situation in which they finally end up being. The performances are accurate according to the kind of people the cast is portraying, and obviously the show is completely stolen by Silvia Pinal, who begins to acquire several facets as time goes by. Unlike Viridiana (1961), her character of "La Valkiria" steps away from the spiritual aspect and adopts a much more elegant, but self-worshiping and comical one at the same time.

El Ángel Exterminador is a tragic satire full of symbolisms and impossible fantasy. The movie can have as many interpretations as the number of people that have seen it, and that is the kind of masterpieces that work at their most perfect way, especially when it is the director's decision to leave the meaning of the film to the open interpretation of its audience. That is why I will make emphasis in a very important point: Every single idea that I am about to express in the following review are based on my own interpretation of the film, which can be, of course, put to discussion, since most of the magic of this wonderful surrealist project comes from that possibility.

The story is not only handled with a sophisticated humor, but with an irreverent absurdity about the most degrading aspects of the luxurious society. Due to the fact that we get more mentally inactive and less critical with each new generation, Buñuel probably utilized exaggerated elements (some of them even childish) for clarifying the extreme ridicule he wanted to represent, converting the bourgeoisie that the social standards have turned it into something "respectable" into something that the whole world could laugh at. The incapacity of the bourgeoisies to get out of the room can be interpreted as a comical element that involuntarily "justifies" the atrocities that the Church has committed during several centuries in the history of humanity, since although inside the bourgeois group people such as doctors and war coronels can be found, the Church has a very heavy influence as an implicit protagonist. Religion isn't excluded from blasphemy. Principally in the books of Moses found in the Old Testament, constant references towards the rituals of sacrifices executed by the priests are made, which lead to a process of purification. It is also mentioned how people tend to be like lambs without a shepherd when absent from the presence of God in their lives. This detail brings to my mind the final scene, in which a massacre is being held in the streets while the Church is being subject to the same curse, just like its followers, being separated from the rest of the society. The loss of virginity ends up in epiphany and liberation, and the sheep can symbolize the people literally walking towards an abattoir. Likewise, this incapacity symbolizes the bottomless idiocy in which the upper class tends to fall into once that their own personalities allow themselves to be literally absorbed by pride and by the false image of superiority that they blindly consider to have above the rest of the society. When they are finally forced to get out of their own little worlds, which are physically represented in the room in which they are trapped just like caged lions, they simply refuse to do it and resort to any possible solution in order to avoid doing it, no matter how ridiculous it ends up being. The main reason may be the pride they possess, although the motivations of the characters are never explicitly shown.

El Ángel Exterminador can be a very controversial and extremely offensive movie for certain kind of people because of its high level of mockery and brilliant satire. The context in which Buñuel directed this film is interesting, because right after he represented poverty in its most graphic detail, he goes to the extreme opposite, treating the constant struggle between social classes as a main topic. Buñuel considered El Ángel Exterminador as one of his greatest failures, since he affirms that if he had done it in Paris, he would have taken the characters towards much more intense extremes. However, the main idea is clearly understood, and I consider this film better than any other surrealist film he had directed in the future without considering his short film Un Chien Andalou (1929). Thanks to Viridiana (1961), Buñuel became one of the most blasphemous and controversial directors of his time being (ironically) censored by the Church and, with El Ángel Exterminador, his ideas were solidly established and strengthened right before he returned to France. El Ángel Exterminador is a marvelously absurd and hilariously unique comedy masterpiece, unique within its genre.

Diary of a Chambermaid (Le Journal d'une femme de chambre) 2000,  Unrated)
Diary of a Chambermaid (Le Journal d'une femme de chambre)
Buñuel explores the Fascism of 1939 yet again with a satirical eye, but without any neorealist or surrealist tone. The result may be unexpected and even unsettling for strong Buñuel fans, and it is indeed far from his strongest projects. Nevertheless, Moreau is a complete blast! Try to find a more admirable female characterization in a drama of the same genre and treatment, and you''ll be in for a treat.

Simón del desierto (Simon of the Desert) 1965,  Unrated)
Belle de Jour 1968,  R)
La Voie lactée (The Milky Way) 1969,  PG)
La Voie lactée (The Milky Way)
While I was exploring this shit storm against the contradictions of religions and dogmatic beliefs, the first thing that came to my mind was Monty Python, especially The Meaning of Life (1983), even more than Life of Brian (1979). When I finally visit the discussion boards and recommendations section of IMDB and Flixster, everybody coincides. It is funny how I had the same perception some did before. Buñuel, through a satirical, episodic structure of randomness, dreamlike hallucinations of the absurd and the earthly impossible, with wonderful cinematography by the great Christian Matras, embarks us on an unprecedented journey of the atrocities committed by the Catholic Church and the pervasive, narrow-minded, fundamentalist mentality of religion and the worldwide misinterpretation of the Scriptures. Buñuel was a hypocritical, show-off bastard for several reasons. The most important one was he made the mistake of assuring he had a reason to claim implicitly that what he was stating was true. He knew he hadn't, but he used the art of celluloid anyway maybe to entice worldwide audiences. His questionings are perfectly justified and I agree with all of them; in fact, religion today does not have the answers to the questions he made here, but the Bible does, because the Bible is God's word. God is not a religion. Jesus is not a religion either. Catholicism, Christianity and all of its worldwide, ideological, philosophical and ecclesiastical derivatives are religions, and religions are based on deeds, not on faith. Even in the case in which they are based on faith, such "faith" has not the proper Biblical justification and the results are the inaccurate attitudes we see today. God does not approve the religion of today and the religion that has developed throughout history. Buñuel hilariously states at the end that every single representation about the Catholic religion and its resulting heresies was scrupulously accurate. Having read the works of Augustine of Hippo and of Thomas Aquinas a thousand years later, and also having read the Bible in its entirety a number of times and studied it for more than 13 years now, that doesn't hold true at a 100%, beginning with the fact that the Bible never states Christ's physical appearance. So, what is inaccurate, of course, is the portrayal. Then comes Buñuel's tragic outcome about his personal life: "Writings and quotations have been borrowed either from the Scriptures or from ancient and modern theological works and ecclesiastical history". That's the typical, yet inexcusable move from any declared pseudo-atheist (we deeply know he was never an atheist and there are tons of arguments to confirm this). You cannot just go quoting the Bible and philosophy like if they were compliments. The Bible is explained with the Bible itself, and the Bible states that. What, did you miss that quotation, my dear Luis? It's like citing a quantum physics book along the interpretation of the book of a 10-year old. Hahahaha!!!! Poor Buñuel; the answer was in the Bible itself the whole time, and not in its personal childhood Catholic upbringing. Of course, it is easy to be confused, but "manipulation" does not exist. Ergo, just like Life of Brian (1979) lost one full star for being unnecessarily insulting (and actually less funny than everybody claims it to be), La Voie Lactée loses half a star for falling prey of its own trap: it is a contradictory film about contradictions. 92/100
Tristana 1970,  PG-13)
The Discreet Charm Of The Bourgeoisie (Le Charme Discret de la Bourgeoisie) 1972,  PG)
The Discreet Charm Of The Bourgeoisie (Le Charme Discret de la Bourgeoisie)
"- I didn't know that chivalry still existed in your semi-savage country.
- Sir, you just insulted the Republic of Miranda!
- I don't give a damn about the Republic of Miranda!
- And I shit on your entire army!"


Director: Luis Buñuel
Country: France / Italy / Spain
Genre: Comedy / Drama / Fantasy
Length: 102 minutes

The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie,Luis Buñuel,Luis Bunuel,Surrealism

Ahhh, yes... Luis Buñuel. This genius actually made a sequel of the events that were depicted in the supposedly unintentional dark comedy El Ángel Exterminador (1962), one of the best Mexican masterpieces ever made. Perhaps it was the disappointment he felt after directing that surrealist gem without taking it to the extreme events he wanted to show because of the lack of means what motivated him to make one of the best surrealist movies ever committed to celluloid: Le Charme Discret de la Bourgeoisie. This revolutionary French manifesto still attacks, degrades and depicts the bourgeois class in the most honest and truthful manner, upsetting the conventional moral code and resorting to extraordinary sequences of pure absurdity. However, his attention to detail and the complex plot web make of this movie a comedy in the strictest sense of the word. Considering his past magnum opuses, it is not a repetitive concept. It still works, it sill makes laugh hard, only this time, he applies a very strong signature, a sign that would lead the audience to think that this was supposed to be one of the director's last works. It was. It still is a revolutionary concept and an audacious portrayal of liberalist ideas that shatters the moral of the modern society and lowers the dignity of the bourgeois class to a repugnant, hilarious level.

The characters we left in El Ángel Exterminador (1962) are now living in Paris. Also, their numbers have been reduced. We now deal with six protagonists whose constant attempts of having dinner together are endlessly interrupted by a bizarre sequence of real and imaginary events within dreams within another complex web of dreams. The film received an Academy Award nomination for Best Foreign Language Film, winning the award. It was nominated for Best Writing, Story and Screenplay Based on Factual Material or Material Not Previously Produced or Published, unfairly losing it against The Candidate (1972).

In Le Charme Discret de la Bourgeoisie, we are offered an extraordinary cast with wonderful performances that play the roles of extremely retarded, snobbish, socially eccentric, morally racist and unbelievably stupid and perfectionist characters. However, it is impossible to hate them. The abundant defects of their respective personalities form a huge monster that could symbolize the totalitarianism of the Catholic Church and the structure of a governmental dictatorship when put together. They are part of a societal monster that slowly eats the guts of the remains of the positive moral conducts. Even so, the delusional events they are found in, the absence of total credibility one as a cinematic viewer may have towards the spectacular events they go through, and the bizarreness of their dreams explode in a cataclysmic outcome of hard guffaws. These sequences are not meant to be taken seriously, nor analyzed in their most literal form. In the same way, the characters are not meant to be important. Nothing around their environment, an environment that consists in tiny little worlds of mansions, snobbishness and ego, is taken seriously by them; nor should we. The complexity of the mind and the subjectivity of the dream realm are the motor that deliciously emphasize the idiocy of their attitudes and the sphere that encapsulates them from living in an honest and respectful manner. In El Ángel Exterminador (1962), their physical antagonist was a room inside the mansion. In this case, the antagonist does not possess a physical form. It has a deeper meaning that explains their utter incapability of bringing down those mental barriers that cause them to be so narrow-minded.

Of course, one element is missing in this delicious satire. They need a motive, an objective that must be constantly interrupted in the most ludicrous way possible. That is the purpose of the dinner. Murder, sex, the lack of coffee and tea, a randomly traumatized soldier who tells his story, a schedule misunderstanding, arrests, the death of a restaurant's manager and other ridicule factors are the ones that end up affecting either the small delicacy of a female protagonist or the food ambition of another male protagonist. Fernando Rey plays the role of the ambassador of Miranda whose name is Don Rafael Acosta, a delusional and self-centered man whose main priorities are the defense of his country despite his dependence on lies and socialism, and to always eat expensive meals. When either his persona or his country is attacked, he immediately arrives to the conclusion that he does not particularly fit in the group of people he is currently having a reunion with. Another comical aspect is the idolization of religious images and how the Catholic Church constantly assumes the role of God performing their own justice, a justice that may not concord with God's will, forgetting they are also humans and sons of God. This is especially highlighted in a scene where a bishop, under the excuse that the church is under constant modifications, asks for the position of a gardener. When he sneaks into the garage and wears the clothing of the gardener job he wants, he is kicked out of the house. However, when he changes to his bishop clothes, he is offered respect and welcome. Once again, the bourgeois class is disguising their horrendous beings with false signs of education towards wealthy social classes and a polite vocabulary, all of this handled with a brilliant sense of humor by Buñuel.

This wonderful auteur is back in his second last surrealist and mindless journey. One cannot deny the brilliance of relativity that Buñuel, after understanding such concept, applied to Le Charme Discret de la Bourgeoisie. Comedy is based on an exaggerated depiction of the defects of man. Comedy appeals to audiences. That is why Viridiana (1961) was banned by authorities. That is why El Ángel Exterminador (1962) was wrongfully criticized. That is why L'Âge d'Or (1930) was forgotten for several decades. It lacked more childish humor so that wealthy social divisions could vociferate "OK, it is a spoof. We may laugh with the film." Moreover, censorship has been under constant modifications, although it still is a problematic factor in the process of filmmaking with evident financial reasons behind. Luis Buñuel is an expressionist. The screenplay he made in collaboration with Jean-Claude Carrière allowed him to exploit the universally accepted moral standards through fully-developed and painfully realistic characters, combining the twisted humor hidden behind a torture scene with a rare mixture of urban, ghostly myths and an orgy of falseness, while the characters blindly think they are walking in a straight line and will get to the end of a path full of flowers and a nice weather. The truth is that they will never arrive to a certain place. The path, full of little obstacles that attract their attention and keep delaying them, will keep going on and on and on... They will never be capable of taking a smarter detour, not to mention a more convenient transportation vehicle.

Le Fantôme de la Liberté (The Phantom of Liberty) (The Specter of Freedom) 1974,  R)
Le Fantôme de la Liberté (The Phantom of Liberty) (The Specter of Freedom)
The final segment's ending reminds of El Ángel Exterminador (1962); the only difference is that you shouldn't make a meaning out of it. Since La Voie Lactée (1969), Buñuel was now irremediably obsessed with religion and contradictions. Since the religious side had already been explored, it was the turn for, once again and for the last time, mocking at the "relativity of moral consensus". You cannot argue with Buñuel's logic (except religion; he was quite ignorant). Artistic freedom had always been his wet 24-fps dream.

That Obscure Object of Desire 1977,  R)
That Obscure Object of Desire
The last controversial classic by a master of cinema, which deals with the process of loss of human dignity, timeless passion and regret, and of course, desire. The direction is spectacular and the acting by Fernando Rey is absolutely stunning. The film is a must see and an intriguing work, depressing, shocking and ultimately devastating. A rare gem ahead of its time. Almodóvar was the Spanish filmmaker destined to inherit this particular terrain.


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