A surrealist tale of a man and a woman who are passionately in love with each other, but their attempts to consummate that passion are constantly thwarted by their families, the Church, and ... Read allA surrealist tale of a man and a woman who are passionately in love with each other, but their attempts to consummate that passion are constantly thwarted by their families, the Church, and bourgeois society.A surrealist tale of a man and a woman who are passionately in love with each other, but their attempts to consummate that passion are constantly thwarted by their families, the Church, and bourgeois society.
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.
- Jan 3, 2004