EVERYTHING ABOUT A MOVIE?
|L'AGE D'OR (THE GOLDEN AGE) (director/writer: Luis Bunuel; screenwriter: Salvador Dali; cinematographer: Albert Duverger; editor: Luis Bunuel; music: Luis Bunuel/Georges Van Parys; cast: Gaston Modot (The Man), Lya Lys (The Woman), Lionel Salem (Duke de Blangis), Joseph Llorens Artigas (The Governor), Bonaventura Ibanez (The Marquis), Germaine Noizet (The Marquise), Max Ernst (Leader of men in cottage); Runtime: 63; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Le Vicomte de Noailles; Kino Video; 1930-France-in French with English subtitles)|
relentlessly attacks the mores of society."
by Dennis Schwartz
Bunuel ("Viridiana"/"That Obscure Object of
Desire"/"Nazarin") directed and co-wrote with his
young artist pal Salvador Dali the absurd and baffling
screenplay, following their collaboration in their
initial film Un Chien Andalou. The
experimental pic was financed by the wealthy Le Vicomte de
Noailles and meant as the surrealist
movement's shocking and subversive commentary
on a corrupt technical age. It relentlessly
attacks the mores of society, the hypocrisy of the
church, sexual kinkiness and the repression of sexual
desires in favor of a pious morality. Upon its release
it was met with violent crowd reactions, such as an
anti-Semite right-wing extremist group pelting the
screen with ink and the theater with stink bombs.
After riots, the film was banned by the French police
and was removed from circulation when the church
threatened its aristocrat financier with
ex-communication. It wasn't released again until
after the patron's death, many decades later.
and Bunuel had a falling out over artistic differences
and Dali left the film early-on for Bunuel to complete
solo. The filmmaker made it more a searing political
attack than a work of poetics, as the artist wanted.
footage of scorpions was used. The point was to show
the poisonous scorpions as anti-social creatures, who
sought to live in darkness under the stones and
thereby were prepared to even take on rats with their
poison stings and if surrounded by a circle of fire
would choose suicide. Following no story line, what
follows is surrealist painter Max Ernst leading a
rag-tag unit of partisan bandits against attacking
Majorcans (corrupt nobility). But there's no
attacking army, instead a tame marching assembly of
wealthy Majorcan civilians in street clothes are
climbing over the rocks to lay a
cornerstone commemorating their skeletal
archbishops who are seen mounted on the
mountain side. The Majorcans are being studied under a
microscope as if they were ants. Then it moves onto
two neurotic lovers (Gaston Modot & Lya Lys), he a
highly placed government official and she the
daughter of a wealthy marquis, unable
to get it on throughout the film, as they are
constantly interfered with by their bourgeois
peers and their social codes and the sexual
restrictions of the Church. Out of frustration Lys
reacts in an over the top manner at a ministry garden
party by performing fellatio on the marble
toes of the statue of Venus. Modot takes his sexual
frustration out by stomping to death a beetle and
kicking a dog. Further bizarre scenes has a gamekeeper
cuddle his son and when he misbehaves, he shoots him
dead with his rifle.
film follows Bunuel's usual theme of having sport with
bourgeois societal issues on sex
and death, and ripping the Church for being parasites.
It's the kind of pic that has a
REVIEWED ON 3/4/2013 GRADE: A
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
© ALL RIGHTS RESERVED DENNIS SCHWARTZ