A surrealist tale of a man and a woman passionately in love with one another, but their attempts to consummate that passion are constantly thwarted by their families, the Church, and bourgeois society.
A surrealistic documentary portrait of the region of Las Hurdes, a remote region of Spain where civilisation has barely developed, showing how the local peasants try to survive without even the most basic utilities and skills.
This surrealist film consists of a series of only vaguely related episodes, most famously the dinner party scene in which people sit on lavatories round a dinner table, occasionally ... See full summary »
Bunuel's first feature has more of a plot than Un Chien Andalou (1929), but it's still a pure Surrealist film, so this is only a vague outline. A man and a woman are passionately in love with one another, but their attempts to consummate that passion are constantly thwarted, by their families, the Church and bourgeois society. Written by
Michael Brooke <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Like walking into Bunuel and Dalis' brains and going through the doors they have wide open
Luis Bunuel was a filmmaker of great imagination and scathing wit, and Salvador Dali was a magnificent, albeit demented, artist and painter. Combined they made Un Chien Andalou (The Andalousian Dog), a short-film that somehow made it through the decades to reach another generation after another. This is because surrealism, the field they were working in, was one that could be endlessly creative. Surrealists could and still can captivate, startle, amuse, primarily provoke and/or even delight an audience by the story elements and images that come right out of fantasy, both on the bright and dark/bleak side of things. L'Age D'Or was a chance for Bunuel to go further, and if his goal was to enlighten the audience as well as to stir the s***storm, he succeeded.
In the first five to ten minutes of L'Age D'Or, I didn't know whether I knew exactly what was going on, or was totally boggled- the first images Bunuel puts forth are of scorpions (insects were one of his fascinations), and how they're shaped and how ferocious they can be. Then he cuts to some men who have guns by their side, walking through deserted rocks. THEN, after this, he cuts to a ship docking by the coastline where the guys with the guns were walking, and he never goes back to them again. Instead he focuses on one of the bourgeoisie men who is raping a woman, and who is dragged off into the imperial city. If you look at this story structure it doesn't seem to make sense - what is it that Bunuel and Dali are trying to get at here? It was when the rest of the story unfolded- with a particular bourgeoisie woman at a party who meets the man who was dragged off of the rocks- that I understood the logic I had first discovered in Un Chien Andalou and a later work of his, Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie.
Bunuel doesn't just toss a bunch of ideas together and think that it'll all make sense. In the thought process of a dream - one with light-hearted moments with romance and wonderful music, as well as terrifying moments like a cow on a bed or a man shooting his son in broad daylight - L'Age D'Or works like a kind of clockwork. Though the last ten five minutes of the film did throw me off almost completely, by then I didn't care. I knew that, overall, Bunuel accomplished his goals of making a film that hypnotizes, repulses, opens the eyes a little wider, and almost gets one cross-eyed. With his attacks on whatever was considered decent, straightforward art in cinema, both political, sociological, psychological, and personal, there are many messages to be seen in the work. However, when it's looked at as a whole, this is simply a work of art, one that has to be interpreted by the individual. Like one of Dali's paintings, one could view the work as nonsense, the work of an amateur mentally masturbating for the viewer. One could even see it as being rather entertaining when looking at the human elements that come through from the actors and the actions that take place. And one could see it as meaning so much that it will take another couple of viewings to "get" what was being said.
I turned off the movie feeling breathless, like being put through a washing machine of astonishing turns and emotions. At one point my jaw dropped, and then at the next point I smiled. To sum it up, I definitely want, and need, to see it again...one more note- this is a very, very hard film to find, one that has been kept out of circulation on video (it was also kept out of circulation in movie theaters for decades due to its controversies at the time of its release), but to seek it out is to take a chance that could equally pay off or disturb a particular viewer.
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