L'Age d'Or (1930) Poster


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Show this to your friends to screw with their minds!!!
MartinHafer13 July 2007
If you'd like a great April Fool's joke, then please by all means show this film to someone. However, it is important that you in no way criticize the film but instead talk about what an artistic triumph it is and how "they just don't make great films like this any more". As your victim watches many disconnected and nonsensical scenes (such as a cute dog getting punted for no apparent reason, a cow standing on the bed, a woman licking a statue's feet or Jesus apparently raping a woman), make lots of comments using words like "brilliance", "juxtaposed" or "transcendent"--all the while acting as if the film actually makes perfect sense and isn't a complete waste of an hour of your life. Also be sure to keep a straight face and feign shock when (and if) they say that they either didn't understand it or thought it had all the artistry of a cow patty. Then, to further mess with them, show them all the comments on IMDb, as nearly all (except for a few trouble-makers like almagz and rooprect) talk glowingly about what genius and artistry this film is! By the time you are done with this little charade, they'll most likely think they are idiots and will make an appointment with a psychologist.

This, to me, is the ONLY possible reason to watch this horrid mess of a film!!! That, or you could show it to the prisoners at Guantanamo in order to get them to talk!

If you ask me, the famous painting of dogs playing poker or a velvet Elvis painting are superior artistically.
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Michael_Elliott12 March 2008
L'Age D'Or (1930)

** (out of 4)

I guess the "story" was simple enough but I never got caught up in it so I really didn't care if the man and woman finally got together or not. I guess the story really isn't too important here but the visuals and surrealism didn't work either. I've used the term "dreamlike" several times but that nature here, to me, just seemed overly imposed and forced on the viewer and really didn't come naturally enough. The dreamlike quality might be a word fans like myself overuse but none of it captured my attention here. With that in mind, the sound effects started to get on my nerves as did the acting, which was really poor, although if you got the "dream" I guess these things wouldn't bother you. The slam at religion is also another thing I never really picked up. The film was interesting enough that I don't regret watching it but I doubt I'll be giving it a second viewing.
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Joking With the Audience
claudio_carvalho20 November 2005
A couple in love wants to have sex before marriage, against the moral standards of the bourgeois society and the church. With this storyline, Luis Buñuel and Salvador Dali produced a movie that was forbidden for almost fifty years. Therefore, certainly it is a movie at least fifty years ahead of its time. The surrealistic story begins with scorpions, and I swear that I have never understood the connection of the scorpions with the story. Are they a metaphor to the Church, family and society? I believe the process of creation of this very irrational story might have been through a brain storm between Buñuel and Dali in a trip, using alcohol and drugs, since there are many non-sense sequences and scenes. Otherwise, they probably were joking with the audiences, which would be a group of pretentious intellectuals from the bourgeois class that Buñuel so despised. There are funny parts, and some of them are so illogical that makes laugh, such as the cow on the bed, the giraffe being thrown through the window etc. The attacks to the priests and Catholic Church are outrageously hilarious. "L'Âge d'Ór" is recommended for very specific audiences only. My vote is seven.

Title (Brazil): "A Era do Ouro"("The Age of the Gold")
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Quite difficult narrative-wise and perhaps not quite enough in other areas to make it stronger but still interesting
bob the moo1 October 2007
In the Tate Modern's "Dalí & Film" exhibition, the fourteen-odd rooms were mostly paintings but three or four had films of one kind or another. Having just seen Un Chien Andalou I decided to watch this one as well and was lucky to catch it just as it started. I say lucky because there is really nothing to tell you when these things are starting or ending. This is maybe OK with a short film that lasts seven minutes or a three minute clip from Spellbound but with a film that lasts an hour I really don't understand why the Tate didn't make at least a discrete effort to let us know start times – maybe it is beneath them to act like a cinema but it does mean that people were constantly flowing in and out and the implication is that the films can be just dipped in and out of.

With this film though, you do need to be in from the start because, unlike Un Chien Andalou, there is more of a plot here and the film has fewer of Dalí's images across the running time. That said the plot here isn't any easier to follow if you did manage to catch it from the very start because this is still very much a surrealist film in structure and content even if it has fewer of the images that made the first film I'd seen so engaging. With Buñuel forming more of the film than Dalí, the film does take on more symbolism in less surreal ways but yet it is still quite hard to follow. To me as a viewer this was a bit of a downside because there was less to stimulate me and more to frustrate me as I struggle to understand the meaning of what I was watching.

Despite this I still did find it interesting and you can see why (to a point) that the screening did draw a reaction from those that saw it as attacking conservative values in its depiction of violent attacks etc. Quite why it was hardly screened for fifty years though, I can't say. With a difficult plot to follow and an hour to watch, the film asked a lot of me and I'm afraid I wasn't really up to the challenge and I did struggle to follow along. The scattering of surrealist imagery did help to hold my attention though and it is not without value – just a lot harder to watch than I would have liked it to have been.
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Bunuel at his Finest
gavin694214 December 2010
Normally I write the plot here, but I have no idea how...

The film starts off explaining the physical and biological makeup of the scorpion, making me wonder why the film is called "The Golden Age". That soon goes away. Then we are treated to dirty men, perhaps gold miners... so what is all this talk of accordions and hippopotamuses? The film gets even more strange from there on out, with withering toilet paper, a violin and other such nonsense, somehow connecting the opening non-fight non sequitoriously to Imperial Rome and some French people... Then a man who sees women masturbating in posters...

What the heck is a Majorcan? And what is up with the foot fetish scene? I like feet as much as the next guy -- maybe even more -- but I was more than a little put off by the drawn-out love between the woman and the statue. And then, "What joy in having killed our children!" Then a Majorcan returns... a flaming tree... a giraffe getting pushed out a window... and then what seems to be a reference to the Marquis de Sade's "120 Days of Sodom".

Four times as long as "Un Chien Andalou", but strangely enough not as weird... this film may not make much or any sense, but it truly is a surrealist masterpiece.
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a big middle finger to all mores
lee_eisenberg4 March 2019
Having collaborated on "Un chien andalou", Salvador Dalí and Luis Buñuel then made "L'Âge d'Or", an equally bizarre movie. It tears apart every sexual and societal more of the era. Seriously, this movie takes a swipe at just about everything. No surprise that Mussolini's ambassador in France denounced it, while France's reactionary League of Patriots interrupted a screening, causing it to get removed from circulation (on top of that, a right-wing Spanish newspaper attacked the movie as "...the most repulsive corruption of our age...").

It's not a great movie. Much of it is kind of slow. But mark my words, you've never seen anything like this. Not even Terry Gilliam could create something as surreal as this. It's interesting to see for the artistic factor mostly. Definitely check it out.
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L'Age d'Or
jboothmillard13 January 2013
Warning: Spoilers
I recognised the name of the director Luis Buñuel for his highly surreal nightmarish and memorable short film Un Chien Andalou which I saw in Film Studies, that and this film were listed in the book 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die, so I was looking forward to see this his first feature film. Basically this French film is all about a loving couple, the Man (Gaston Modot) and the Young Girl (Lya Lys) and their many attempts to embrace and consummate their feelings, but all are interrupted and thwarted by various events and occurrences. These distractions often occur because of the families, the church and generally bourgeois society, and they find it very difficult to get away from these things and final sexual release and satisfaction, there is even a scene where all the Girl can do is suck the toe of a statue. Also starring Caridad De Laberdesque as a Chambermaid and Little Girl, Max Ernst as the Leader of men in cottage, Josep Llorens Artigas as Governor, Lionel Salem as Duke of Blangis, Germaine Noizet as Marquise and Duchange as Conductor. Alright, I will be completely honest and say that I didn't really understand anything going on, and I did get a dozy because of this, but I suppose I can see reasons why this film was banned for forty-nine years from what I can recall, and there are some humorous and erotic scenes, so it is I suppose not a bad satire. Good, as far as I remember!
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Strange film by two Spanish maestros of surrealism and abstraction , Luis Buñuel and Salvador Dali
ma-cortes8 November 2013
Surrealism and sour attack upon religion by the Spanish master , the great Luis Buñuel .This is a typical Buñuel film , as there are a lot of symbolism and surrealism , including mockery or wholesale review upon religion, especially Catholicism . This film opens with a documentary on scorpions (this was an actual film made in 1912 which Luis Buñuel added commentary) ; later on , a man (Gaston Modot) and a woman (Lyla Lys) are passionately in love with one another, but their attempts to consummate that passion are constantly interrupted by their families, the Church and bourgeois society.

This is a strange and surrealist tale of a couple who are passionately in love , but their attempts to consummate it are constantly thwarted ; it is an absurd , abstract picture that was banned for over 50 years. This is the most scandalous of all Buñuel's pictures . It is packed with surreal moments , criticism , absurd situations and religious elements about Catholic Church ; furthermore Buñuel satirizes and he carries out outright attacks to religious lifestyle and Christian liturgy . Luis Buñuel was given a strict Jesuit education which sowed the seeds of his obsession with both subversive behavior and religion , issues well shown in ¨Age of Gold¨. Here Buñuel makes an implacable attack to the Catholic church , theme that would preoccupy Buñuel for the rest of his career . It is surreal , dreamlike , and deliberately pornographically blasphemous . Buñuel made his first film , a 17-minute longtime short film titled "Un Chien Andalou" (1929), and immediately catapulted himself into film history thanks to its disturbing images and surrealist plot , the following year , sponsored by wealthy art patrons, he made his first picture , this scabrous witty and violent "Age of Gold" (1930), which mercilessly attacked the church and the middle classes . Buñuel's first picture has more of a script than ¨Un Chien Andalou¨ , but it's still a pure Surrealist flick . For various legal reasons, this film was withdrawn from circulation in 1934 by the producers who had financed the film and the US premiere was on 1 November 1979 . This film was granted a screening permit after being presented to the Board of Censors as the dream of a madman . However , on the evening of 3 December 1930, the fascist League of Patriots and other groups began to throw purple ink at the screen, then rushed out into the lobby of the theater, slashing paintings by Yves Tanguy, Salvador Dalí, Joan Miró, and Man Ray . This is an avant-garde collaboration with fellow surrealist Salvador Dali in which Buñuel explores his characteristic themes of lust , social criticism , cruelty, anti-religion , bizarre content , hypocrisy and corruption . This is an ordinary Buñuel film , here there are symbolism , surrealism , being prohibited on the grounds of blasphemy .

The motion picture was compellingly directed by Luis Buñuel who was voted the 14th Greatest Director of all time . This Buñuel's strange film belongs to his first French period ; he subsequently emigrated to Mexico and back to France where filmed other excellent movies . After moving to Paris , at the beginning Buñuel did a variety of film-related odd jobs , including working as an assistant to director Jean Epstein . With financial help from his mother and creative assistance from Dalí, he made his first film , this 17-minute "Un Chien Andalou" (1929), and subsequently ¨Age of Gold¨ . His career, though, seemed almost over by the mid-1930s, as he found work increasingly hard to come by and after the Spanish Civil War , where he made ¨Las Hurdes¨ , as Luis emigrated to the US where he worked for the Museum of Modern Art and as a film dubber for Warner Bros . He subsequently went on his Mexican period he teamed up with producer Óscar Dancigers and after a couple of unmemorable efforts shot back to international attention , reappearing at Cannes with ¨Los Olvidados¨ in 1951 , a lacerating study of Mexican street urchins , winning him the Best Director award at the Cannes Film Festival. But despite this new-found acclaim, Buñuel spent much of the next decade working on a variety of ultra-low-budget films, few of which made much impact outside Spanish-speaking countries , though many of them are well worth seeking out . As he went on filming "The Great Madcap" , ¨The brute¨, "Wuthering Heights", ¨El¨ , ¨Susana¨ , "The Criminal Life of Archibaldo De la Cruz" , ¨Robinson Crusoe¨ , ¨Death in the garden¨ and many others . His mostly little-known Mexican films , rough-hewn , low-budget melodramas for the most part , are always thought-provoking and interesting ; being ordinary screenwriter Julio Alejandro and Luis Alcoriza . He continued working there until re-establishing himself in Europe in the 1960s as one of the great directors . And finally his French-Spanish period in collaboration with producer Serge Silberman and writer Jean-Claude Carrière with notorious as well as polemic films such as ¨Viridiana¨ ¨Tristana¨ , ¨The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie" , of course , ¨ ¨Belle Du Jour¨ , with all the kinky French sex and his last picture , "That Obscure Object of Desire" .
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a masterpiece of nonsense
dbdumonteil28 July 2002
This film is often regarded as the best surrealistic film of all time. Like in his previous film "un chien andalou", Bunuel introduces us a film with a cock-and-bull screenplay. In this movie, he's using the power of his imagination and this is one of the surrealism's goals. The movie starts with a documentary on the scorpions, then some thieves are discovering four archbishops on the rocks, next, come the founders of Rome. Later, in Rome, a young woman is finding a cow on her bed; during a reception, in a beautiful castle, a tipcart full of workers is crossing the living-room and other weird events like these ones happen later..... It's easy to find out why this movie was forbidden for a long time in France (it was finally re-released in 1981). If you think that some elements of the story (if there is one!) like the four archbishops or the tipcart are funny, well they aren't. It's only his second film and Bunuel's showing us his obsessions: he's laughing at religion and upper middle class by ridiculing them and he is against the conformity. That's why his movie's got nonsense and even the title: why the Golden Age? However, behind all this nonsense, there is a love story between Gaston Modot and Lya Lys which is more sketched out than told.

Moreover, the film also created a huge scandal due to the last sequence. It was inspired by the most horrible French novel: "les 120 journées de Sodome" by the Marquis de Sade (Bunuel used to admire him). This French writer's novels were forbidden for a long time due to their violence and their philosophy. In the movie, the scene created a double scandal because the count of Blangis's got the Christ' head! This film is incredible and fascinating due to the screenplay and its unexpected events. If you want to discover Bunuel's films, this one is a good start
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Like walking into Bunuel and Dalis' brains and going through the doors they have wide open
Quinoa19843 January 2004
Luis Bunuel was a filmmaker of great imagination and scathing wit, and Salvador Dali was a magnificent, albeit demented, artist and painter. Combined they made Un Chien Andalou (The Andalousian Dog), a short-film that somehow made it through the decades to reach another generation after another. This is because surrealism, the field they were working in, was one that could be endlessly creative. Surrealists could and still can captivate, startle, amuse, primarily provoke and/or even delight an audience by the story elements and images that come right out of fantasy, both on the bright and dark/bleak side of things. L'Age D'Or was a chance for Bunuel to go further, and if his goal was to enlighten the audience as well as to stir the s***storm, he succeeded.

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.
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A Dead Branch
tedg5 February 2007
Some movies you'll watch because they touch your soul or challenge you in ways that grow.

Some you'll watch because you want to be exposed to adventure or shock outside your experience; these won't directly feed you, but they'll help you situate yourself in a larger world than you otherwise would have. And after all, the hard parts of life are in what you choose not to accept.

And then there are movies that do neither of these things, that you will watch out of obligation, or because you have a need for historical context. These are pretty worthless experiences in terms of building a life.

The problem is of course that often you don't know which of the three a film will be, going in. You might get some indication from people you trust, but because a life in film is so personal, you really won't know until you go on the blind date.

For me, this was pretty worthless. Yes, yes, I know for many Bunuel is the epitome of the sublime and rich. And you should know (if you don't) that among my greatest film experiences are some very strange films, very strange indeed.

It isn't that this isn't cinematic, or symbolically deep, or apolitically/politically friendly to the way I think. Its how it gets there that is off base. Its the deviance from real deviance that annoys me.

Part of the problem is that this is successful alternative art, which means that it is successful commercial art. Which in turn means that it can be simply explained and the explanation is not only widely acceptable but simply coded in shorthand. Surely all this is true.

When the term "surreal" is used, generally it is used incorrectly to denote any film image or world that differs from reality or seems strange. But when it is used correctly, meaning according to consensus theory, it always revolves around Bunuel, and in particular this film and the one he genuinely did with Dali. So because they invented surreal cinema, they define and control the term. That by itself chafes me, and I have my own alternative definition that doesn't come from their philosophy.

Its because the philosophy is wholly contrary. It isn't a philosophy at all but a rejection of philosophy, an anti-order. Its packaged anarchy, carefully selecting the things that they use and the things they oppose without clearly differentiating them.

So okay: against linearity, against narrative, against history, against religion (an easy one), against deliberate love. But for an illinear linear narrative, for establishing its own history (celebrated by countless film school professors; what else can they do?); for a sort of transcendent "accidental" love.

It is its own enemy. If there were a Bunuel alive today as he sold his image, the first thing he would do is attack the church or the surreal.

My regular readers know that in nearly all matters cinematic, I cleave to the Spanish and avoid the French. But in the matter of the surreal, I'd like to you consider the reverse: get your surrealism from Alfred Jarry, not Bunuel.

Ted's Evaluation -- 2 of 3: Has some interesting elements.
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Golden Ass
writers_reign1 October 2015
Warning: Spoilers
This film is usually screened with Un Chien d'Andalou shot the previous year by the same person - one hesitates to say filmmaker - which offers a double dose of horses**t for one admission price. It goes without saying that this is manna from heaven for the Academic-Pseud axis who can 'teach' it ad infinitum to gullible students, extracting as many meanings as there are student dollars. Those who would defend it point to a story of sorts which sees a man and a woman consistently thwarted in their efforts to engage in sexual intercourse by the Church, the State and the entire gamut of usual suspects. This is only marginally on the money because in truth the couple appear to be entirely clueless as to how the Mating Game is played, as if a blind, deaf and dumb paraplegic attempted congress with a sideboard.
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Not surreal, just a movie without a story.
Boba_Fett11389 March 2008
Well, first of all I really liked the earlier surrealistic movie "Un chien andalou" by Luis Buñuel but I guess this movie just sort of went too far for me.

Story-wise, this is just an extreme odd piece to watch. Halve of the time you really don't understand what is going on and what some of the intentions are. But I guess that's also part of the charm of this movie and a reason why you can watch it over and over again, exploring and understanding more of its themes and surrealistic elements every time you watch it.

It's a movie that is also obviously criticizing some themes such as against the bourgeois and religion as well as some social critiques. On that level I liked this movie, since it was also effective with it as well.

Perhaps you also shouldn't view this film as an actual film but more as a piece of art, you can watch from different perspective and unleash your own interpretations on it.

As a movie this one is just too lacking, since its an at times almost impossible movie to watch and follow. The dialog and some of the sequences just seem to pop out of nowhere, without making an obvious connection to the movie as a whole. And as strange as it might sound after criticizing its story, this movie just has too much of a story. "Un chien andalou" was a great dream-like surreal movie, without a story in it. This movie follows a main plot-line with characters in it and does feature dialog. Perhaps I would had liked this film more if it was made as an entirely silent movie instead. It would had most likely strengthened its surrealistic elements. The movie is now instead not surrealistic enough for my liking.

Probably one of the most bizarre movies you'll ever see, without understanding it.


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What the hell was that all about?
JoeytheBrit19 August 2002
Sometimes I'm not sure what I really think about a movie until I try to put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard). Then, occasionally, the dam bursts, the fingers fly, and the vitriol or praise bursts forth. I knew about this movie, and Bunuel, before I watched it - any movie fan/buff worth his or her salt does, and so I approached it with an open mind, figuring that, at 40 years of age, I should at least be able to get the message, even if I didn't appreciate the way it was put across.

Well, I got the message but, dear God, did I really have to sit through such a relentless barrage of clever-clever surreal clap-trap in order to do so?

I'm not an intellectual man, and don't aspire to be one, so I don't feel particularly excluded by movies like this; each to their own, and all that. But, having said that, I can't help thinking exclusion is perhaps Bunuel's intention when he loads his film with such inaccessible and baffling images (and sequences) in order to deliver what is (apparently) quite a simple message. As far as I'm concerned, Bunuel was simply making movies for the small band of intellectual elitists of his own ilk, which makes him both a snob and the cinematic equivalent of the young child beseeching his friends to 'come and see what I've made!'. Either that, or he was so impressed with his own cleverness that his inflated self-regard blinded him to the fact that his choice of style immediately and irrevocably alienated the majority of his potential audience.

I can confidently say that this is one film I shall never watch again.
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Less successful than "Un Chien Andalou", but still impressive
gridoon202125 March 2019
Warning: Spoilers
The reason "Un Chien Andalou" works better is that it is shorter, and has a quicker succession of images; "L'Age D'Or" is more plodding, and has too much dead space between its memorable images. When these images do appear, however, they can be funny (randomly kicking a blind man), disturbing (shooting a little kid), bizarre (a man commits suicide and his body falls on the ceiling), provocative (tossing the clergyman out the window), erotic (a woman passionately sucking on the toes of a statue) -> sometimes all at once! You cannot deny the impact of these two films, even if it took another 40 years for Monty Python and others to really popularize surrealism on the screen. *** out of 4.
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A scorpion's Ta(le)il.
morrison-dylan-fan27 March 2012
Warning: Spoilers
Since having heard his name mentioned for the first time in connection to Alfred Hitchcock and Dario Argento on the info packed commentary by Alan Jones and Kim Newman's for Argento's classic debut The Bird With The Crystal Plumage,Luis Bunuel has been a director who I have become pretty keen on taking a look at.Whilst almost getting myself caught up in an endless back and fourth struggle over trying to decide what Bunuel film I should go for,I thankfully got a bit of luck,when I recently found his very first film being sold at a fantastic price,which led me to deciding that my first Bunuel would also be the first ever (non short) film that he made.

The plot:

Soon after they have started to passionately kiss each other like two wild animals,a young couple are pulled apart by a group of consisting of their families,police officers and priests who object so strongly to what the couple are doing on the beach,that they beat up the man in broad daylight on the beach.Taking the man to a police station,the man catches the two cops by surprise,by quickly knocking them out so that he can run to the house where his lover is staying with family.Meanwhile,whist the couple are attempting to get together,a long,disgusting orgy attended by some very unexpected participants finally reaches it end.

View on the film:

As this very entertaining,interesting surrealist film opens with some re-used old documentary footage (featuring a new narration) about scorpion tail's, Luis Bunuel and co-writer Salvador Dali (who would have a huge falling out with Bunuel shortly before the beginning of the films production)set up the scorpion "sting" for each section of the movie.With the beginning of the film having shown the ruthless behaviour of animals,Bunuel cleverly uses the minimalist soundtrack to feature animal sounds that connect the characters to primal instincts which the church and other "higher up" sections of society are attempting to destroy,from the sound of birds being used when the couple start to kiss each others hands,to raw sewage (!) being inter-cut in the scene where the unnamed man is getting beaten up and punished like an animal.Along with the soundtrack,Bunuel's directing also features a good number of stunning transitional/fading in/out shots that along with focusing on the beautiful features of lead actress Lya Lys, (whose performance gives the character a fantastic china doll-like fragileness,shows that she is an actress who should have been bigger than she sadly became)also help to make the 63 minute running time fly by,thanks to each transition bringing a new piece of the scorpions tail to this sometimes messy,but always fascinating film.
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A lot like Un Chien Andalou
The_Void14 June 2006
L'Age D'or is French surrealist director Luis Bunuel's second film, and is often paired with his early surreal short Un Chien Andalou. The film is basically more of the same; with a load of seemingly unrelated shots being mismatched together, only this time there's something of a story at the core - that being the idea of a young couple trying to get it together under the watchful eye of everyone else. Personally, I do respect what I've seen of Bunuel's work, although with the exception of The Exterminating Angel, I can't say I enjoy it too much. There may be a point to this film, but whatever it is; I can't see it, and to me L'Age D'or is just what it seems; a mismatch of striking visuals. The visuals themselves are rather good, and it's obvious that the director has an eye for cinema. The fact that it doesn't make any sense to me means that I can't give it a high rating, although I'm sure that this art film will appeal to fans of classic French cinema.
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Hey, a Buñuel film that I actually like!
zetes7 September 2001
Written on August 30th, upon my first viewing: I'm not saying that I love it, though. It's infinitely more watchable than the other two Buñuel "masterpieces" that I've seen, the execrably boring The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeosie and the somewhat lame Belle de Jour. I have been told time and time again to go back to his early stuff, that I'd be much more likely to enjoy those films. And those who pushed me were right. Of course, when I sat down to watch it, I didn't have the highest hopes. Immediately, I began to nitpick. "What is that supposed to mean?!?!" "What the heck is going on!?!?" My favorite three letters became, throughout the first half hour of this film, WT&F. But, as much as its narrative (or anti-narrative) was annoying me, its technical aspects were very much delighting me. The cinematography is quite good, the editing is fabulous and unique, and the use of sound is simply fantastic. Eventually, I just decided that the narrative wasn't supposed to make much sense and that Buñuel's purpose was anything but a storyteller. He was after the absurdist image and the absurdist mood. After that, I had a lot more fun and enjoyed it quite a bit. All good film watchers have to eventually train themselves away from depending on narrative. I'd still not call it a masterpiece, or even a great film, but it was very interesting and quite entertaining. I give it an 8/10. However, I do plan to rewatch it, since it is short and I do have it for another four days. Perhaps, now that I can watch it entirely prepared from the very beginning, I will raise that score.

Upon watching it the next day: Nope, sorry. I didn't get anything new the second time 'round. I still liked it as much, which is a huge compliment, but I certainly didn't like it more.
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one of the most erotic sequences
christopher-underwood20 August 2008
So easy to watch but rather more difficult to write about. I first saw this with 'Un Chien Andalou' in the 60s and was an overnight Bunuel fan, gradually getting to see most of his subsequent films. The exception was some of the earliest Mexican ones, which just recently I have seen, thanks to DVD releases. Once a director only seen in film societies and art galleries, now available to all. Of course there were later films that got reasonable releases but rarely to your local Odeon. I have never understood why. I admit that watching this film nearly 80 years after it was made a few allowances have to be made, but it is still shocking, it is still disturbing and it is still funny and at the same time uplifting. It is something that seems to run through all of Bunuel's work, this sunny disposition. At one with the earth. This is despite his fury bordering on hatred of authority and the church in particular and this certainly shows here, whether it's shooting a child, pushing over a blind man, tipping a cardinal out of a window. Just to add to this potent mix there is of course the sexual angle and this film contains one of the most erotic sequences in all of cinema, complete with Wagner's, Tristan und Isolde soaring on the soundtrack. I've just realised I haven't even mentioned the surrealism!
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'Surrealism' as a convenient alibi against criticism ...
ElMaruecan8218 June 2013
"L'Age D'Or" carries one simple, yet extremely frustrating paradox, if we use our intelligence to extract from the images' symbolism some depth and substance, we're among the privileged ones, those who 'got' the film, who understand it's powerful diatribe against religion, bourgeoisie, patriotism, an ode to freedom, anarchy, whatever ... but if the same process generates a more critical opinion, we are reminded that it's a surrealist film and that we shouldn't pay too much attention to the 'story' but rather focus on its dream-like escapist value..

Now, I'm puzzled, if the film has a point to make - I believe it has- then it should encourage some criticism that wouldn't deny the gutsy approach of Bunuel and Dali and the political significance of their second feature. Speaking of the first, I loved "Un Chien Andalou" for what it was, a brilliant piece of surrealist film-making, granted the images had no connection whatsoever, each one was powerfully defying all our preconceived ideas about what Cinema should stand for. "Un Chien Andalou" was the standby of concept, the exhilaration of Cinema as a rule-less art-form relying on the basic premise of hypnotic images, pleasing or shocking to the eyes, but ultimately fascinating, Cinema, like music and dancing, a hymn for human's quest for liberty and new forms of expressions.

Yet there's a major difference between "Un Chien Andalou" and "L'Age d'Or": length. "Un Chien Andalou" has a dream-format, it's short but rich, and even if the original intent was that ""No idea or image that might lend itself to a rational explanation of any kind would be accepted.", the film allowed us to transcend our capabilities to judge a film on a rational basis, and discover the inner poetry and craftsmanship of Bunuel as director and storyteller, which is even less surprising when you know that he was influenced by a poet named Garcia Lorca, and a painter (man of images) named Dali. "Un Chien Andalou" is the kind of 'experiences' that gets richer and subtler after each viewing, and in its own way, it's an enjoyable film, if not 'entertaining'.

The irony is that the film was intended to shock, to be a cinematic slap addressed to all the establishment, but actually met with a fair success. Both Bunuel and Dali didn't expect such recognition and probably thought they missed their point, since even the upper-class audience applauded the film, why couldn't they, after all, embrace its dream-like poetry? Aren't people with more free time in their hands the most likely to enjoy the artistic freedom superbly displayed? As a result, I believe Bunuel and Dali wanted to make a film with much more explicit anti-establishment messages, with the closest structure to a plot. I respect that new approach, but with this mindset, it's difficult to sit through the whole hour without noticing some "perplexing random bits of creativity".

I'm not judging them negatively, but 'random' seems to me the right word, while it was fitting for "Un Chien Andalou", "L'Age d'Or" featured many moments that seemed totally out-of-place even from surrealistic standards : a cow in a bed, a blind man violently kicked, a documentary sequence about scorpions, not to mention the ending's Biblical undertones… I'm aware that these parts carry some symbolism and are not gratuitous, but then again, who had to read 'Wikipedia' to understand what the film was about? Who had to make some researches before jumping to the conclusion that even the craziest stuff made sense? The film only works when you know exactly what was its first intent whereas for "Un Chien Andalou", only being familiar with the notion of surrealism was enough, and even then!

I guess what I'm trying to say is that the intent of "L'Age d'Or" is laudable and the film is never more powerful as when it doesn't try to be a second opus of "Un Chien d'Andalou", the whole film starting with the Majorcans until the party, would have been better, but it's just as if Dali and Bunuel wanted to shock for the sake of it, and used 'surrealism' for their slap-in-the-face moments, while it was more than symbolism, than open for interpretations, therefore criticism. I remember I said about "Ingmar Bergman's "Persona" that the film "rises above rationality with such beauty and self-confidence that if there ever was one word intelligible enough to translate the power of its images, the film would have failed." The same sentence could have applied for "Un Chien Andalou", but "L'Age d'Or" is not a disinterested film, it's not art for art, it's art with a point and the criticism only consists to question whether the film succeeds to make its point, or not.

Why the scorpions? Why that ending? Why oh why, did they make the actors talk, since the delivery was so laconic and obvious bad acting? Why not keeping the film silent, relying on its powerful message? I have the feeling that by trying to make a political pamphlet in one side, and remain faithful to their surrealistic agenda, the two effects canceled each another… and the political core of the film is undermined by these random bits of absurdity. Maybe this is why I can't truly enjoy "L'Age d'Or", not as much as "Un Chien d'Andalou" anyway. This is why I couldn't wait for the film to end … I started my discovery of Bunuel from his later works "The Discreet Charm of Bourgeoisie", "This Obscure Object of Desire" and "The Diary of a Maid" so I'm aware that being a man of creative genius isn't incompatible with making movies with relative consistence or let's say, coherence.

"L'Age d'Or" might be victim of its own ambitions, but shouldn't be above criticism just because it's a surrealistic film; otherwise, it shouldn't even be applauded for its intelligent subversion. I think it's fair to say that it's an important film, powerful, historically and culturally significant … but certainly not flawless.
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One of the most important films ever made; a scathing surrealistic attack on the bourgeois society
tomgillespie20026 May 2012
In 1929, the art world and movie-going audiences were shocked to the core when Luis Bunuel and Salvador Dali teamed-up to make the short surrealistic masterpiece Un Chien Andalou. Scenes of eye-slitting and ants crawling out of open palms caused revulsion and awe in equal measures. A year later, Bunuel and Dali planned another surreal satire, but the two had a fall-out, leading to Bunuel taking the solo reigns and using his film-making know-how to make a slightly more accessible and narrative-driven piece, and this time feature-length (well, 63 minutes). The result caused chaotic scenes of rioting, violence and destruction upon its premiere. Bunuel must have been laughing his ass off.

The film is basically a collection of small vignettes that revolve around a couple, the Man (Gaston Madot) and the Young Girl (Lya Lys) who are passionately in love. Yet their frequent attempts at expressing their love are repeatedly thwarted by various groups and people. There is also a short documentary about scorpions, a bourgeois party where a small boy is shot with a shotgun and a serving woman gets blown out of the kitchen by a fire, and an epilogue detailing an 120-day orgy (a reference to the Marquis de Sade's 120 Days of Sodom) which leads to the death and scalping of the participating women.

I have to admit that whilst viewing this mind-f*****g masterpiece, I was dumbfounded as to what was going on or what the film was trying to get across. Yet like all great art, it stayed with me, and the more I thought about it, the clearer it became. The message seems to be how society and religion can suppress natural sexual urges and expression to the point that it can cause violence within humanity. The film is full of sexual imagery - most memorably in the scene where the Young Girl, seemingly nymphomaniacal in her lust for the Man, performs fellatio on the toe of a statue. The camera then amusingly cuts to the statues face, as if we are expecting a reaction from it.

It is relentless in its mockery of religion and the upper classes. In the most shocking scene (even by today's standards), we are shown an idealistic portrayal of a father-and-son. The father sits holding an object (I think he is rolling a cigarette) in the scenic garden of their home, while their son playfully hops about him. His son then knocks the object out of his hand and runs off, causing the father to fume. The father then picks up his shotgun and shoots the boy dead. And then shoots his limp body again. The son seems to represent free-spirit and the father society, and it seems the message here is that if you refuse to conform to society's wishes, then society will crush you. A relatively simple point sledge-hammered home. It wouldn't be too far- fetched to call this one of the most important films ever made, as it pushed the boundaries of what was possible at the time and remains just as shocking and as ground-breaking as it was 82 years ago.

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This French surrealism on thwarted Love is confusing but the satiricalness is impressive.
SAMTHEBESTEST30 January 2021
L'Age d'Or / The Golden Age (1930) : Brief Review -

This French surrealism on thwarted Love is confusing but the satiricalness is impressive. High chances that most of the cine viewers may not understand this confusing narrative and dislike it because of over used realism, as if it was a documentary. I happen to be one of those soul but i gave it thought and found the satirical portion impressive. The film is 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 begining it has a logical documentary of Scorpio which is not at all connected to the main storyline and here's where most of the people lose their interest in the film. I personally think the same too. That part could have been removed or used somewhere else (most probably in the ending) to give the main content a Go at the start. Their sexual desires were also confusing because of the extreme use of physical lust which was not right for 30s period. That scene when the girl french-kisses the Musicians went like a bouncer over me, i just couldn't any logical reason for it. Sometimes exaggeration of realism spoils the basic requirements of the scene and that's what has happened with many scene in this film. Somehow, that shorter runtime makes it easy for audience when you don't have to scratch your head for hours, you finish it in an hour and then you are free to think about it. No wonder that such a complicated film was made by Luis Buñuel, who is known for making such stuff but the Idea is of showing mainstream content like Love in surrealistic manners was little goofy. It may not take your heart away but if you understand it enough, you will definitely call it a good product after all. Dedal but different.

RATING - 7/10*

By - #samthebestest
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Pure CinemaThe Best Marx Bothers Picture the Marx Brothers Never Would've Made.
jzappa5 August 2008
L'Age D'Or is pure cinema, as silent films were, and despite how difficult it may be to feel absorbed in it, it really is a great work. It consists of a series of tightly interlinked vignettes, the most prolonged of which tells the goofy satirical story of a man and a woman who are keenly in love. Their efforts to have sex are always obstructed by their families, by the Church and the bourgeoisie. In one attention-grabbing moment in the film, the woman passionately sucks on the toe of a religious statue as if it were a phallus, the iconoclasm of which is remarkable considering the time at which this movie was made, and consequently banned.

Salvador Dali, the hugely amusing surrealist painter, co-directed this film with Luis Bunuel, and the tone of many of his paintings is captured in many moments of the film but in the appropriate manner for its medium, such as the scalps of the women flapping in the wind on a crucifix accompanied by cheerful music, or the twisted black humor of the final vignette, which uses comic-strip-like symbolism and details to tell of a Marquis de Sade-style orgy, the survivors (!) of which emerge, one of them reminiscent of the most conventional image of Jesus.

Upon viewing, I was muddled by all of this. I laughed a bit, my eyebrows curled, and I didn't quite understand, perhaps because I'm not accustomed to the proper manner in which one views a a silent film from 1929, but I did reflect upon it and it grew on me, because I do believe that if this film were not banned by the ever-predictable church and the governments they still influence, it would have moved the viewers of its era to open its eyes a bit more to sexual repression, whether propagated by civil bourgeois society or by the church, and ponder the film's most plausible implication, which is that repression generates violence, which is very true. The fiendish gag is in the look of dog-tired depravity as Christ emerges like a De Mille figure staggering of De Sade's party.
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Post-historical framework
Polaris_DiB21 February 2008
Warning: Spoilers
Fans of Bunuel/Dali's short masterpiece "Un Chien Andalou" may be disappointed in the more slow build up of events that occur in "L'Age d'or", while Surrealists tended to give "L'Age d'or" credit pretty much because it vexed people so much that some Catholics actually planned a violent outbreak during one of the movie's most iconoclastic scenes. Both films, however, are compelling exercises in the same experience: building up expectations in order to create a framework of understanding, only to directly violate those expectations in order to remove all possible meaning from the signs.

L'Age d'or is longer because it is more methodical in its attempts to undermine the audience. To be sure, the majority of the film is a combination melodrama (something Bunuel would later show himself to be really skilled in) and slapstick-comedy: humor is made at the expense of the upper-class while a garden romance is alternately vindicated/frustrated with fetishistic diversions. However, of course, it's only in the audience's expectations that the form of the movie takes its cues: those expecting a direct story or theme to arrive will be constantly frustrated, while those looking for the more direct weirdness of "Un Chien Andalou" can also be frustrated by the movie's semantic appeal to scene-building and continuity.

One thing that is often under-rated in both "Un Chien Andalou" and "L'Age d'or" is Bunuel's strong focus on continuity: images are repeated, similar sets are often digressed, the violation of the 180 degree rule is the easiest way to break comprehension. If "L'Age d'or" has any "failures", it would be that a movie that's supposedly so "anti-artistic" features such strong imagery: beggars attempting to go to war, only to starve in the desert; the bones of priests against the shore; Lya Lys performing fellatio on a statue; a cross with scalps nailed to it.

Yes, it's iconoclastic. Yes, it's also a preview of the socialist tendencies of Surrealism during its later development. In the meantime, however, it's also arguably more successful in these days for its evasion of meaning than it was back then, because history has given the film significance in its polemic qualities. To understand "L'age d'or", one has to re-build the framework of the audiences who were supposed to NOT understand it. Unfortunately that's the point. Fortunately it's really good at it, and not nearly as obnoxious as, for instance, the films of Alejandro Jodorowsky, who by all reasoning basically wouldn't have had nearly the same approach without "L'Age d'or".

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Pile of shite
AAdaSC23 August 2009
The Man (Gaston Modot) and the Young Girl (Lya Lys) go through the film consumed by passion for each other. They long to be together but their moments together are constantly interrupted. The film is strewn together with imagery and comes to a halt after an hour.........do the lovers find happiness....?..

The film starts interestingly with footage of scorpions but you soon realize that its all a pretentious piece of nonsense. It's made as a silent film with occasional dialogue and it has a non-stop soundtrack playing that at one point is so irritating that you will turn the sound down and want to watch it as a silent film. The continuous drum rolls must have driven cinema audiences mad. There are some genuinely funny moments, eg, when the Man kicks a dog and when he knocks over a blind man. Unfortunately, this humour is carried out in the name of art so its just pseudo nonsense. The film is crap.
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