Director Luis Buñuel / / France

"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.

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