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L’ÂGE D’OR

France (MIFF 2000, The Surreal Feel – 100 Years of Luis Buñuel)

Director: Luis Buñuel

"Our sexual desire has to be seen as the product of centuries of repressive and emasculating Catholicism... it is always coloured by the sweet sense of sin," wrote Bunuel in his autobiography My Last Breath. L'Age d'Or was Buñuel and Salvador Dali's second collaboration (after Un Chien Andalou, 1928) and has been described as a savage blend of visual poetry and biting social criticism. The famous Manifesto Concerning L'Age d'Or (a group text diatribe against capitalism, the clergy and the police to which Buñuel was a signatory) considers the film an "attack on all the rational complacencies of bourgeois existence". One might describe the film as 60 minutes of coitus interruptus wherein a couple is constantly prised apart from furious love-making by the police, high society and, above all, the Church. Not surprisingly, the premier of the film inspired outrage: right wing extremists attacked the cinema, there were demonstrations, a near riot, and the Pope threatened to excommunicate the film's producer. After showing for three months in its first release, L'Age d'Or was banned and seventy years on, the film's ending (with the revelation of Christ presiding over an orgy) still has the totemic power to shock.

See also...

SIMON OF THE DESERT

Short, sharp and astounding, this film provides a teasing bridge between the Old Testament Buñuel (Viridiana) and the New (The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie). Simon of the Desert concerns ... More »

THE EXTERMINATING ANGEL

In the best surrealist tradition, the opening credit of The Exterminating Angel warns that "from the standpoint of pure reason there is no explanation" for Buñuel's brilliant, disconcertingly ... More »

THE DISCREET CHARM OF THE BOURGEOISIE

This delightful comedy revolves around a group of six chic, upper-middle class men and women who find themselves unable to disentangle themselves from their own thoughts, beliefs, fears, memories and ... More »

VIRIDIANA

Viridiana, a young nun full of charity, kindness and idealistic illusions about humanity, visits her rich uncle on the eve of her ordination. She stays and tries to help some local peasants and ... More »

Un Chien Andalou

Strongly influenced by psychological thought, the film purports to be a revelation of Dali's subconscious experiences. An attempt to show a subjective analysis of the subconscious, the film consists ... More »

THAT OBSCURE OBJECT OF DESIRE

Luis Bunuel's new film takes the story-line of a French nineteenth century novel by Pierre Louys. The story has been filmed before in 1929 by Jacques de Baroncelh. It was filmed again by Josef von ... More »

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