When the young woman Tristana's mother dies, she is entrusted to the guardianship of the well-respected though old Don Lope. Don Lope is well-liked and well-known because of his honorable ... See full summary »
A young woman, Karin, has recently returned to the family island after spending some time in a mental hospital. On the island with her is her lonely brother and kind, but increasingly ... See full summary »
Max von Sydow
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Harry Dean Stanton,
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Carl Theodor Dreyer
Emil Hass Christensen,
Preben Lerdorff Rye
Viridiana, a young novice about to take her final vows as a nun, accedes to a request from her widowed uncle to visit him. Moved purely by a sense of obligation, she does so. Her uncle is moved by her resemblance to his late wife to attempt to seduce Viridiana, and tragedy ensues. In the aftermath, Viridiana tries to assuage her guilt by creating a haven for the destitute folk who live around her uncle's estate. But from these good intentions, too, comes little good. Written by
Jim Beaver <email@example.com>
Conchita Buñuel said the costumes in the film were authentic. "We scoured the outlying districts of Madrid for them, particularly under bridges, giving poor people new clothes in exchange for their rags, which were then disinfected but not washed." See more »
This film portrays the abysmal differences between people with different educations and senses of morality. At the same time, it is a commentary on the hopelessness of a society where no one understands why the status quo should be tampered with. No summary could really do this film justice since the visual impressions and symbols are just as important as the express message portrayed by the events.
But here goes: A novice is forced by circumstances to leave her convent and visit her uncle, falling under the influence of her world wise cousin. She tries to maintain her ideals by doing good works but is taken advantage of and despised by the very people she means to help.
Viridiana was the first film Buñuel filmed from exile and (so the story goes) the church was in an uproar and adamant that it be censored. Perhaps this is because none of the characters seem to give a fig about the teachings of the church except for the novice. Perhaps it is because one of the messages that seems clear is that the church is ineffectual in its efforts to improve the human condition. However, the depth of the story speaks more to the social condition in general -similar in all of Europe at the time- and the church was merely a part of that.
It is possible that a superficial viewing might interpret the characters to represent specific political factions from the era when the film was made but I believe that is an error. Even Franco, if we are to believe what we are told today, didn't personally see anything wrong with the film when he saw it and his order that all copies be destroyed was given in the interest of appeasing the church. People who appreciate quality film will be grateful that at least one copy survived the mass destruction by being sent to France.
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