(director/writer: Luis Bunuel; screenwriters: Julio
Alejandro/based on the novel by Benito Prez Galds;
cinematographer: Jos F. Aguayo; editor: Pedro
del Rey; cast: Catherine Deneuve
(Tristana), Fernando Rey (Don Lope), Franco Nero
(Horacio), Lola Gaos (Saturna), Jess Fernndez
(Saturno), Antonio Casas (Don Cosme), Jesús
Runtime: 95; MPAA Rating: PG; producers: Robert
Dorfmann/Joaqun Gurruchaga/Eduardo Ducay; Maron
Films; 1970-France/Spain-dubbed in English)
"A restrained black comedy."
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Luis Bunuel ("Viridiana"/"Belle De Jour"/"The Criminal Life of Archibaldo de la Cruz") directs a restrained black comedy that targets the obsession of a aging man for a vulnerable young girl and takes jabs at the Catholic Church, high-society mores and hypocrisy, lust, old age death and deformity. It's based on the novel by Benito Prez Galds and written by Julio Alejandro and Bunuel. It's set in the period between 1929 to 1935, in provincial Toledo, Spain.
lecherous, upper-class, anti-clerical, agnostic,
hypocritical non-conformist, progressive
Socialist--the elderly Don Lope (Fernando Rey)--
becomes guardian to the beautiful teen orphan Tristana
(Catherine Deneuve), whose mother recently
died, and seduces her. Also living in Don Lope's
house is his hard-working housekeeper Saturna
(Lola Gaos) and
her misfit deaf mute son, Saturno (Jess
Fernndez). Though progressive on
social issues, the hedonistic Lope has a reactionary
chauvinistic attitude in his treatment of women.
Lope lusts after the innocent Tristana, even though
she wants only to think of him as a father. Soon
Tristana meets visiting artist Horacio
(Franco Nero) and runs away with him, but after
two years turns down his marriage proposals and
returns to live with Don Lope because she has a
painful tumor on her leg. Embittered when her
leg is amputated, Tristana continues to foil the
aristocrat's sexual advances but agrees to marry
him. The church approves because it avoids a
scandal of them living together in sin. Though
the passionate Lope mellows in old age and
treats her with kindness and has turned to
religion for possible salvation, the unforgiving
Tristana treats him with a vengeful coldness.
director's most accessible film and still has
his usual irreverence for modern society, the
establishment and the Catholic Church.
most memorable surreal shot is of Tristana's
ongoing eerie dream of Don Lope's amputated head
ringing a church bell.
REVIEWED ON 9/28/2012 GRADE: B+
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
© ALL RIGHTS RESERVED DENNIS SCHWARTZ