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
A man wanders out of the desert after a four year absence. His brother finds him, and together they return to L.A. to reunite the man with his young son. Soon after, he and the boy set out ... See full summary »
Harry Dean Stanton,
How do we understand faith and prayer, and what of miracles? August 1925 on a Danish farm. Patriarch Borgen has three sons: Mikkel, a good-hearted agnostic whose wife Inger is pregnant, ... See full summary »
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>
not completely artistically free, but one of Buñuel's best and most sincere
Buñuel emphasizes again that the rich take their perspective for granted and the poor initially literally don't know how to handle the opportunities thrown at their feet, and who can blame them? The rich in this film know how to control their subversive tendencies, because they are taught how to handle their position, their money and simply their manners. The poor and disabled are naively given opportunities and gradually make an unbelievable mess of it, without ever considering the (moral) implications of their actions. Viridiana is the kind soul who makes the naive mistakes, like helping the beggars in the wrong way.
Although this is the great Fernando Rey's (French Connection, Cet obscur objet du désir, and here speaking Spanish) first and shortest collaboration with Buñuel, it must be his most convincing performance. His character Don Jaime morally blackmails Viridiana accompanied by psalms. This delicately illustrates Buñuel's loathing of churches and convents (where Viridiana lived) that cannot prevent people from their sexual desires. A contrast is made with the beggars later in the film, who listen to Händel, Beethoven and Mozart without properly hearing what it is, but have fun and unfortunately take advantage of their newly acquired personal wealth.
The surrealism and magic realism will be presented again by Buñuel in later years (after 1966, and also in Ángel exterminador, 1962), but this film is one of Buñuel's subtlest and best acted and has a clear message without being superficial or pedantic. To what extent it is a parody on The Last Supper I don't know and also I can't figure out what this somnambulism (also in Tristana '70) should mean in religious terms. But Buñuel and cinematographer Jose F. Aguayo (also Tristana) delivered a worthy film that may be Buñuel's least outrageous but most realistic and aesthetically perfected film. 'Journal d'une femme de chambre' (Buñuel, 1964) is one film that comes close to that. Also, 'Charme discret de la bourgeoisie' and 'Ángel exterminador' seem to deal with a Last Supper in their own brilliant way.
12 of 20 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?