Viridiana, a young novice about to take her final vows as a nun, accedes, moved purely by a sense of obligation, to a request from her widowed uncle to visit him. Stirred by her resemblance to his late wife, he attempts to seduce her 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 little good comes from these good intentions.Written by
Jim Beaver <email@example.com>
You may not like VIRIDIANA,,,You may very well hate it. You may find it too shocking. BUT THIS WE GUARANTEE - VIRIDIANA will shock your senses like nothing else you have ever seen in a theatre! See more »
Forty years on and `Viridiana' is one of the very few, almost unique, examples of classical Spanish cinema to have survived the turmoil of the latter half of the last century. It remains as a little light in the midst of the darkness of the Franco Régime, which promptly banned it, or as an insouciance to the Vatican, which promptly excomulgated everyone concerned with it.
Buñuel's genius is apparent in every frame: the eye for detail, nonetheless permitting that impromptu evanesqueness which lends exquisiteness to these memorable scenes, above which shines the `Last Supper'. And it is precisely this scene which gives one the impression that the real stars in the making of this film were the motley beggars taken in from the streets. Silvia Pinal and Francisco `Paco' Rabal are not outstanding in this piece; even the incomparable Fernando Rey is overshadowed by the band of social outcasts. The sheer poeticness so brilliantly captured by the camera roaming among the vagabonds is cinematographic exquisiteness carried to its extreme: every grimace, every wrinkled nose, the debauchery, is what makes the principal actors be no such thing, but secondary actors overwhelmed by the nuances and gestures of these `untouchables". Brilliant filming, indeed whether intentional or not or whether this be only my personal interpretation after seeing this film three times in the last twenty five years, is of course open to debate.
Suffice just to mention Lola Gaos: (Tristana (1970) also by Buñuel - is one of her other films worthy of mention, surprisingly accepted by the censor's blue pen). In the 70s her voice began to break up, such that in the end she lived out her last years in poverty, forgotten by the times and cinema makers, until hauled out of hiding for a last TV appearance, sardonic way of giving her a few pennies to eke out to the end of her existence, but by then (1989) her voice was so fragmented it was near impossible to understand her. Her throat-cancer was never treated adequately.
Luis Buñuel (`Thank God I am an atheist') has gone; Fernando Rey has gone; Paco Rabal died yesterday in an aeroplane flying over the English Channel, returning from the Montreal Film Festival where he received his last award .
They leave `Viridiana' as testament to those historical and difficult times, an isolated exposé amid what was, for Spain, a cinematographical desert.
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