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Brilliant film illustrating power struggles
mooning_out_the_window2 January 2007
Warning: Spoilers
I don't want to talk too much about the style of the film, as other comments do this fairly well. However to briefly surmise them: there is no non-diegetic music, it is in colour but grainy (looks good, don't let this put you off), contains surrealist imagery as do all of Bunuel's films, and the lighting and the cinematography are sublime. I can rave about the brilliance of the technical aspects of the film, but to some it is the story content and themes that are the main focus, so I will talk about this.

The film sees a young orphan taken in by one of her mother's past lovers. Played by Fernando Rey, very well I might add - though this is an understatement. Catherine Deneuve plays the title character to perfection. The orphan becomes both the 'daughter' and lover of Don Lope, Rey's character, and it is the change in power from Don Lope to Tristana that is one of the central themes of the film. In order for Tristana to get freedom she must pay the price of losing her innocence.

Bunuel uses many scenes to show this, such as the balcony scene where Tristana reveals her naked self to her watchful deaf mute servant and childhood friend Saturno. Bunuel also edits this shot with an extended shot of the virgin Mary, and the comparisons are obvious.

The film is very enjoyable, yet still deals with issues such as sexual freedom, power, anti-clericism and anti-bourgeois values amongst others.

The film is not Bunuel's most surreal work, however it still contains the themes and images typical of him. The acting is brilliant, no more so than the leads of Deneuve and Rey. Tristana could be seen as the sister of Severine in Belle De Jour, also played by Deneuve.

Certainly worthy of being in the top ten films of all time. Brilliant!
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Great Bunuel
danielhsf12 May 2005
I can't say I know Luis Bunuel's style well, since I've not seen many of his works, and those that I've seen usually just struck me as blah. But then yesterday I saw Tristana which starred Catherine Deneuve and was awe-struck by it. See, the comments that I've read online about it have seem to have the focus all wrong, they are more interested in commenting on Bunuel's usual attack on the bourgeois and catholicism. Yes it is dark and in some places rather surreal, but above all, Tristana is a simple and sad story about its characters as they grapple with life, love, loss and regret. It is especially well-crafted with its sinewed study of human relationships, and humans that desperately try to relate with each other.

Tristana, played brilliantly by Catherine Denueve, is the central character whom we see evolve from an innocent young girl with her many ideals about love and relationship, to a bitter and cynical woman at the film's end who cannot believe in anything any longer. It is with special finesse that Deneuve plays her, that we witness, with heartbreak, every turn of her back on the things she love, and every rejection of all morality that she held before.

Fernando Rey's character is probably the murkiest but ultimately most empathetic character, as at the end of the film, age wears off his hard-edged cynicism and turns him into the loving father figure that Tristana desperately needed in the beginning of the film. In a sense, it is a film about age, how when we reach a certain point in our lives we see things much clearer and as it is, rather than try to twist things to our advantage. The way Rey's character treasures the time with the vile and vindictive Tristana at the end of the film is not only overwhelmingly sad, but also an epiphany by an auteur who is gaining age himself.

In spite of all its dramatic turns of events, Tristana is not an emotional and angsty film in its portrayal of its characters' lives. Instead it is a soft and peaceful film that sympathetically accepts its characters' flaws as much as it forgives them. It is a film that evokes the intricate feeling of looking back in our dark and troubled past and finding the exquisite moments of happiness amidst all the cynicism and grit. When, towards the end, Rey reaches the peace that he has been struggling so hard to attain throughout the film, he notes, 'It's snowing so hard outside, but in this house, I'm nice and warm. What's there not to be happy about?'. A silent recognition that peace is not bending reality to your own will, but merely, acceptance.
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The bell clapper.
dbdumonteil3 July 2005
Warning: Spoilers
It was the second time Bunuel had directed Deneuve and she was probably never better than when she was directed by the master.

Like Juan Bardem's unfairly forgotten "calle mayor" ,"Tristana depicts a small Spanish town still entangled in religion.But the times are changing.Don Lope (Rey) has become an hedonist and he tells us that it's Mosis who made sex a sin.Tristana is his ward,but as she confesses it to the painter,"I'm his daughter and his wife" .

Tristana is perhaps Bunuel's most complex woman.The physical metamorphosis of Deneuve is stunning.From the virgin who puts her hair in braids to the bitchy one-legged woman ,she runs the whole gamut.She refuses marriage because it kills love,and when she finally becomes Lope's wife,she uses it as a way of humiliating and frustrating her old husband whom she despises .The noise in the corridor as Tristana walks on her crutches while Lope is sipping hot chocolate with his friends (priests) shows frustration as nobody but Bunuel can.

The dream,(Rey as a bell clapper),which will remain "Tristana"'s most famous scene, will puzzle the audience.The first time it had appeared ,I did not think at all it was a dream.Bunuel will take this technique to its absolute limits in "discreet charm of the bourgeoisie",his following work .

We find back some of Bunuel's permanent features in "Tristana" :Lope,full of jealousy and locking up his ward, is a distant cousin of the hero of "El" ;the deaf and dumb boy ,some kind of brother of Maria in "la mort en ce jardin";The old man who sees his youth slip away was already in "Viridiana" (Fernando Rey again);fetishism ;exhibitionism :in a memorable scene,Tristana ,who refuses to give herself to her future husband (the wedding scene follows the exhibitionist one)shows her magnificent body to the deaf and dumb boy,an outcast,the scum of the earth ,derisively.

Recommended,as anything Bunuel did.
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melodrama lifted up into perverse tragedy as only Bunuel can do
Quinoa19843 August 2008
It might appear to the uninitiated that Luis Bunuel is making with Tristana at first a good but very predictable melodrama that turns somewhere in the second half mark into a strange power-play of desire turned on its head. But in reality, when looking at it after seeing a couple of his films, Bunuel's work with Tristana is somehow kind of touching. He cares about all of his characters- none of whom what they seem or dumbed down to Lifetime movie levels- and in this stuck-in-its-ways society there are boundaries that are crossed in tragic means. Usually one might expect some dark or subtle comedy of manners or satire on society, but here it's stripped away, as it was for some of Viridiana, and all that's left is a spare, tense and expertly manipulated tale where the tables are turned once or twice on the couple of Don Lope (Fernando Rey) and Tristana (Catherine Deneauve, maybe her most physically demanding of her two Bunuel roles).

One thing that's extraordinary about how Bunuel directs and allows for his actors to play the scenes is that the emotions are only heightened to a certain level, and never with the aid of things like music or tears. It is what it is: Don Lope has taken care of Tristana as her guardian since her mother died, and now has inserted himself as her father/husband figure, with his servant Saturna (stern-faced but understanding Lola Gaos) a kind of unofficial confessional. Tristana wants some freedom, just to go out and walk around, and feels caught by Don Lope even when not doing anything... until she meets Franco Nero's Don Horacio, a painter who could promise a new life. This goes without saying that one should take it for granted that Tristana isn't *that* young and could take care of herself without Lope, but maybe this is part of the point of the slight absurdity- and eventual tragedy- of this struggle.

Two years go by after she leaves Lope for Horacio, with a tumor in her leg. She's now a cripple, and now once again a kind of mental prisoner in Lope's home; the complexity of old man Lope as being duplicitous is seen right after he finds out she's sick and Horacio asks for Lope to help keep her home, and he nearly skips home saying "she'll never leave again!" All of this, leading up to a final twist that is very satisfying if extending the tragic dimension of Lope and Tristana, would be soapy and tawdry and, possibly, very standard in other hands. For Bunuel, there's a lot of personal ground here; I wonder at times if Rey is a little like one of those actors a director of Bunuel's auteur-stature uses as a means of expressing himself through an actor, or if it's just because he's so good at playing wicked AND sympathetic bourgeois. And the mixture of ideas, if not really themes, covering what's love and over-control, religion, deformity, a free will are potent and exciting even in such subtle and (as Maltin said) serenely filmed territory.

It's also a minor triumph for Deneuve, who between this and Belle de jour did some of her best work as an actress for the notorious surrealist. Her character's continual dream of Lope's beheaded top dangling from a church tower is the closest we see to a classic surrealist scene, though it's reminiscent of Los Olvidados as brilliantly expressing one character's mind-set. Deneuve is up for the challenge of putting up a tough interior and exterior presence; she gets paler towards the end (if this was for real or just a bad print I couldn't tell), and there's a lot of pain in her eyes and expression throughout. It's great work for one of the director's most subtly demanding works- beneath its conventional framework of a love-triangle story is sorrow and horror at the human condition.
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A Love/ Hate Movie.
nnad21 September 2000
One of the better melodramas by Bunuel that stars Catherine Deneuve --Belle De Jour was the most successful. Tristana is the third installment to Bunuel's ill-fated heroine yarn: as we know, Viridiana and Belle De Jour were the first 2. Nevertheless, the film's not as surreal as these previous two films; however, Bunuel still maintains his use of dream sequences and familiar motifs. Rey is excellent as the lecherous uncle, and Deneuve is also good as the title character. Bunuel has definitely excelled in focusing on the aesthetic approach to a story-line; however, this respect can be overwhelming for some viewers, especially those who are more comfortable with the fast-paced American movies. In short, Tristana is still an excellent movie regardless of these unusual aspects.
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A brilliant dissection of moral degradation as only Bunuel could make it.
Galina_movie_fan17 March 2007
Warning: Spoilers
Sometimes hilarious, often dream like surreal drama tells about a young woman, heavenly beautiful and innocent in the beginning, bitter and pitiless but still heavenly beautiful sans one leg in the end. Catherine Deneuve gave perhaps her best performance as an orphaned 19 years old girl who after her mother's death has been adapted by the aristocratic free-thinking atheist, Don Lope Garrido in absolutely fantastic performance by Bunuel's favorite leading man in the latter half of the director's career, Fernando Rey (That Obscure Object of Desire, The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie, Tristana, Viridiana). Don Lope is a man of honor, a gentleman who believes in those of ten commandments that don't have to do with sex. He also takes pride in having not worked a day in his life because the only work is noble that is done "with pleasure". He rather would sell for a fraction of their real cost the pieces of art that had belonged to his family for generations. This is the man Tristana comes to live with. Very soon he would seduce her and make her his mistress justifying it with the words that she is better off this way than being on the streets. Don Lope is a preacher of freedom in the relationships between a man and a woman and for him, "marital bliss has sickly odor". Young Tristana is a good student and eventually she chooses to leave Don Lope and to run off with a young and attractive artist (Franco Nero). From this point on, the movie takes an unexpected and unusual turn...

"Tristana", based on a famous romance novel written by Benito Perez Galdos was adapted by Bunuel into simple on the surface but incredibly rich, complex, funny, in one word, brilliant dissection of moral degradation as only Bunuel could make it. The film is also a portrayal of a strong and beautiful woman who wishes to survive and be independent even if it goes against the established rules of behavior of her time.

P.S. I wonder if Rainer Werner Fassbinder had seen "Tristana" and if he had, would it give him any ideas about his own trilogy of strong, beautiful, independent, and corrupted women trying to survive in the post-war Germany?
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Very Well-done Bunuel Film
boltinghouc210 January 2001
A cinematic masterpiece, Bunuel's Tristana works on many layers, and can be enjoyed at face-value, as a dark romance, or as a scathing social criticism of pre/post World War II Spain. The latter interpretation is rather difficult to digest with just one viewing, but its allegories of Tristana and Don Lope as fascism and socialism present a richly disguised history of the Spanish Civil War and Spain's constant struggle between the socialist and the fascist. As is typical of Bunuel's work, his characteristic criticism of the Church as well as bourgeoisie lifestyles also presents itself in Tristana, however not as markedly as in such features as L'Age D'Or or The Discreet Charm.
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Morbid Tale of Lost of Innocence
claudio_carvalho29 June 2012
In the 30's, in Spain, the teenager Tristana (Catherine Deneuve) becomes an orphan when her mother, who is the servant of Don Lope (Fernando Rey), dies. Don Lope is a decadent but respected aristocrat, anticlerical and liberal with socialist principles, and he becomes the guardian of Tristana. Don Lope sexually abuses of Tristana and develops a strange lover/father relationship with her.

When Tristana meets the painter Horacio (Franco Nero), they fall in love with each other and Tristana flees from Don Lope. However, years later, Horacio brings Tristana back to Don Lope with a terminal disease on her leg. She has a severed leg and survives, and Don Lope asks her hand in marriage. She accepts but now Tristana is a bitter and cynical woman and Don Lope feels the consequence of his acts in the past.

"Tristana" is a morbid tale of lost of innocence by Luis Buñuel. I had seen this film for the last time on 05 Feb 2003 and despite the wonderful performances of Catherine Deneuve and Fernando Rey, it is not among my favorite Buñuel's films. As usual, the director criticizes the Church and the bourgeois class but his famous surrealism is only presented in Tristana's nightmare. My vote is seven.

Title (Brazil): "Tristana"
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Yet another Buñuel masterpiece.
colin-cooper23 October 2005
Luis Buñuel had a mastery of screen technique attained by very few directors. Confronted by the script of Tristana, what contemporary director would know where to start?

Buñuel's attention to detail is extraordinary. Every scene is packed with visual interest. In some strange way, the decor forms an essential part of the structure; it is a facet of Buñuel's unique vision. Moreover, he not only knows exactly when to end a sequence, but how to end it. For instance, when Don Lope (Rey) puts down the dog and walks away, the camera follows not him but the dog: an endearing and brilliant touch, and there are many more. Compelling throughout, even spellbinding.

If this film were a framed picture hanging in a gallery, thousands would come to see it and Buñuel would be acclaimed as a great artist. He was a great artist, in fact, but the cinema is an ephemeral form and people forget. We need to buy the videos and watch these fine movies from time to time, just to remind ourselves that a film can be a significant art form and not merely a commercial product cynically synthesised to extract the largest amount of money from the greatest number of people.
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Buñuel, the genius...
rainking_es16 November 2006
One of the latest works from the genius of Calanda, he was still stigmatized by Franco's dictatorship and he adapted a text by Benito Pérez Galdós about a young pretty girl (Catherine Deneuve) whose mother dies and has to go to live (and something else) with his stepfather (Fernando Rey).

"Tristana" contains many of the common factors of Buñuel's movies: his total contempt for the ruling sectors of society and the rich people, for hypocrisy and Puritanism; his irreverence, and a wicked and implicit sexual content. Only the man who made "Belle de Jour" would dare to amputate a leg to the goddess Deneuve (one of the most beautiful creatures that ever walked the earth). Fernando Rey plays a typical Spanish "hidalgo" that's come down in the world and that sexually harass his stepdaughter.

So, Buñuel not only hadn't lost his touch with the years, on the contrary, he felt more and more free as the time went by to let his genius flow… *My rate: 8/10
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JasparLamarCrabb7 March 2008
Warning: Spoilers
One of the great movies of the early '70s. Catherine Deneuve is the title character, left in the care of older Fernando Rey, an aristocrat fallen on hard times. Rey is a staunch socialist and unabashed liberal willing to give all to those less fortunate while being a cruel misogynist who lets his lurid intentions known to the innocent Deneuve and makes no apology for it. When Deneuve leaves him for young artist Franco Nero, Rey, true to character, berates her and challenges Nero to a duel! Bunuel's jarring film exposes the cruelties men and women lob at each other while at the same time appearing to be genuinely kind to the disenfranchised. It's a truly unsettling film with a mid-film twist that is particularly shocking. The acting is brilliant. Rey is more than just dependable. He embodies the old guard, an honorable man who scoffs at authority and power as he defends those with even less than himself. Deneuve solidifies her her status as not only one of the screen's great beauties, but a fine actress willing to use her looks to play not only flighty or distressed waifs, but really cruel characters as well (as Tristana becomes after fate hands her a horrifying blow).
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Not the best Buñuel, but still very good
Imdbidia13 February 2011
Warning: Spoilers
Tristana is a Buñuel's film based on Benito Perez Galdos' realist novel of the same title, what Spaniards call a "novela costumbrista", that is, an epoch novel that focus on real local customs, social types and atmosphere.

It tells the story of Tristana, a 19y.o. orphan girl, who moves to the house of her legal guardian, Don Lope, a socialist bourgeois womanizer, who becomes not only her father, but also her lover-husband.

The way Buñuel shot the movie is not especially daring or original within Spanish cinema, and, despite what some people say, there is not surrealism in this movie, just some oniric images - two very different things that people mix too often. What makes the movie so interesting is not the realist way in which depicts 19th Spanish society (there are many movies of this sort in Spanish cinema), but how Buñuel approaches and modifies the story to bring out Tristana's dark side. The movie ends exploring the boundaries and limits of the economical, social, and gender orders, and, more importantly, the boundaries between good and evil. The story also shows the hypocrisy of the bourgeoisie, that preaches Socialist ideas and criticize wealth and the social order, despite them being wealthy, being part of that system and direct beneficiaries of the order they criticize.

In fact, in Tristana nothing is what it looks like, everything has two sides, there is not good and evil, but good-and-evil. The viewer starts despising and hating that indecent abuser of Don Lope, for his social hypocrisy and his sexual behavior, forgetting that young Tristana, despite despising him, does not oppose or resist his sexual advances, and lives like a princess from his money being as hypocrite as her master. A little intermezzo contains her meeting, love story, and escape with young bohemian painter Horacio. The viewer feels that this should be the end of the movie, the poor girl rescued by pure love. Mistake! - The second part of the movie, shows Tristana's true nature. She is sick and misses Don Lope and his wealth, so she leaves her lover and returns to Don Lope's house, and even marries him; he becomes her carer and dutiful husband. If Don Lope is a monster and treated her so badly why would she want to return to his place? She has soaked in all the preaching of his father-husband and uses them against him; she becomes the tyrant, the intolerant, the abuser, and the one that takes advantage of the old tamed Don Lope, who changes his behavior and customs to suit Tristana's needs and whims. Tristana ends being Don Lope's mirror image in reverse, a product of his teachings, but also a more wicked human being only interested in money, power, and revenge. The viewer ends thinking that nothing is what it looked like, and that both Don Lope and Tristana are connected to the core, identical in a way, evil both of them.

As always, Buñuel is a master at directing actors and creating an homogeneous ensemble of a group of big movie stars. Fernando Rey really nails his role, and offers a convincing range of emotions and behavior, from father to jealous father, from stallion to grandpa, from an open-minded intellectual to a petty tyrant, from funny guy to a jerk. Catherine Denueve is great in a role that suited her acting abilities, and her cold beauty is perfect for Tristana. Lola Gaos is great, as always, in her role of submissive hard-working servant, hard and sweet at the same time. The rest of the cast, which includes Franco Nero, Antonio Casas, and Jesus Fernandez, among many other supporting actors, are also good in their respective roles.

Not the best or most experimental Buñuel's movie, but very intriguing, with terrific performances, that offers an accurate portrait of Spain in the 19th century and explores controversial philosophical themes.
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One of Bunuel's finest films.
MOscarbradley18 April 2019
The perfect companion piece to "Viridiana". Bunuel's later "Tristana" is also about a virginal young girl, (a superb Catherine Deneuve), corrupted by an older man, (once again, the great Fernando Rey). Although she gives herself to him willingly, it's an act that makes her both bitter and vengeful but while "Viridiana" had a mordant streak of humor running through it, this is a much darker affair. It was adapted by Bunuel and Julio Alejandro from the Benito Perez Galdos novel and it remains one of the cruelest films about women that the cinema has given us.

Tristana is a complex character and one who is very difficult to empathize with. Was she ever a victim or was she always much more knowing than she first appears and, despite the tragedies that befall her, she is never sympathetic or likable. Both Deneuve and Rey are terrific; as Tristana's younger lover, Franco Nero is slightly less wooden than usual, which is a blessing of sorts and, at least, he never upsets the film's equilibrium. This may be an old man's film, stripped of all artifice but it remains one of its director's finest works.
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the placement of the false leg and the associated paraphernalia are unsettling surrealist touches
christopher-underwood14 December 2017
A wonderfully controlled film that you just know that the director had a very clear impression of from the start. I have heard it suggested that Franco Nero represented his younger self and Fernando Rey the elder. This would make sense because although the film is outwardly one of his most gentle and understanding of people's foibles there is a violence and a desire to control ever present. The beautiful Catherine Deneuve, all childlike and innocent at the start becomes warped under the lecherous and abusive early attentions of Rey and whilst she continues to appear pliable, she is not. Her relationship with Nero (Bunuel insisted on calling him such as he so hated the Spanish dictator and the name reminded him) is always controlling and though we barely notice it as the film proceeds she becomes more and more so. Ironically Rey appears to become more easy going as age takes its toll but as there never was at the beginning when he called the shots, Deneuve's character is hell bent even missing one leg and confined to a wheelchair. Much has been made of the film's lack of surrealism but even if the dealings with the artificial leg are partly to do with the director's known foot fetishism, there is little doubt that the placement of the false leg and the associated paraphernalia are unsettling surrealist touches. Some have suggested the film is slow, but measured, very measured would be my description and it is one of those rare films. One that once you have seen you would happily sit down and watch again. Although the life depicted is alien, it is presented so believably that you become embroiled in the machinations of the mind of genius film maker, Luis Bunel.
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Interesting story very well told.
goodellaa5 March 2013
Warning: Spoilers
Everything about this movie is excellent, unless you are looking for lots of special effects and dislike storytelling. Concerns a young lady who has become an orphan somewhere in Spain between the Great Wars who goes to live with an old bachelor. He rejects the mores of society and preaches freedom of thought and action to his friends but tends to be rather traditional and overbearing when it suits him. It pleases him to control his young ward and treat her like a wife. In time she meets an artist who she likes and things get more complicated. If you laugh, things are funny, if you are enraged or afraid for the characters, then it is drama. In this kind of slice-of-life movie you can pick and choose who to root for. Story flows beautifully like a good novel.
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Dramatic film about a strange relationship , being splendidly directed by the Spanish maestro of surrealism , the great Luis Buñuel
ma-cortes20 September 2014
When the young woman Tristana (Catherine Deneuve)'s mother dies, she is entrusted to the guardianship of the well-respected though old Don Lope (Fernando Rey) being served by the old maid (Lola Gaos) . There she is besieged as emotionally as sexually to be his lover . Don Lope is more than 60 years, single, liberal and anticlerical and natural inclination to idleness and indolence . Then Tristana meets the painter Horacio (Franco Nero) , they fall in love with each other and Tristana flees from Don Lope who faces competition from her suitor .

This is the sensuous story of Tristana , a drama with surrealism and sour portrait upon social classes , catholicism , sexual abuses and many other things , being stunningly realized by the Spanish maestro of surrealism , the great Luis Buñuel . This is a typical Buñuel film , as there are a lot of symbolism , social critique , including mockery or wholesale review upon religion , especially Catholicism . 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 a lot of films and that would preoccupy Buñuel for the rest of his career . Here Bunuel gives a perverse studio about religion , old age , desire along with deformity ; and was strongly cut by Spanish censorship . The film describes unequal status of women , heir to a long tradition of marginalization, subjugation, exploitation and lack of rights , subsequently suffragists and protest movements emerge in pro-women . Interesting and thought-provoking screenplay from the same Luis Buñuel and Julio Alejandro , Buñuel's usual screenwriter , based on the novel by Benito Pérez Galdós ; they pull off a straight-faced treatment of shocking subject matter . Bunuel's adaptation retains the spirit of protest written by Galdos, and moved to a later time in 40 years to the novel . Nice acting by Fernando Rey as an old man who falls for the innocent girl in his charge , to the point of result to be perhaps the best performance of his long career . Rey played various Buñuel films such as The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie , That Obscure object of Desire and Viridiana . And Catherine Deneuve's finest most enigmatic acting as a young cynical woman who goes to live with her guardian and subsequently turned into a bitter incapacitated cripple . The film relies heavily on the relationship between them , as is developed a rare lover/father relationship with her . One of Bunuel's most serious and serene ¨Tristana¨ is packed with surreal moments , criticism , absurd situations , masochism and nightmares . Furthermore , Buñuel satirizes and he carries out outright critical to aristocracy , bourgeoisie and attack upon religion . Pretty good support cast gives fine acting ; it is mostly formed by nice Spanish actors such as Antonio Casas , Fernando Cebrian, Jose Maria Caffarel , Antonio Ferrandis , Jose Calvo , Sergio Mendizabal , Juanjo Menendez ,among others . Beautifully shot in Toledo with a splendid cinematography by Jose Aguayo . Tristana was voted tenth best Spanish film by professionals and critics in 1996 Spanish cinema centenary and nominated for an Oscar ,film Foreign Language.

Thid wry and dramatic 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 French second period ; in fact , it's plenty of known Spanish actors . Born in Calanda , Aragon (1900) , Buñuel subsequently moved to Madrid to study at the university there, where his close friends included Salvador Dalí and Federico García Lorca. 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 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 , the scabrous witty and violent "Age of Gold" (1930), which mercilessly attacked the church and the middle classes, themes that would preoccupy Buñuel for the rest of his career . That 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 with the lacerating study of Mexican street urchins in ¨Los Olvidados¨ (1950), 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¨ , "The Criminal Life of Archibaldo De la Cruz" , ¨Robinson Crusoe¨ , ¨Death in the garden¨ and many others . After returning his native country, Spain, by making ¨Viridiana¨ this film was prohibited on the grounds of blasphemy as well as ¨The milky way¨ or Via Lactea , both of them were strongly prohibited by Spanish censorship . This French-Spanish final period in collaboration with producer Serge Silberman and writer Jean-Claude Carrière with notorious as well as polemic films such as ¨Viridiana¨ , ¨The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie" and ¨Belle De Jour¨. His last one was the notorious ¨That obscure object of desire¨ (1977) .
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intensely sad but equally well-acted story of lust and corruption
MartinHafer14 July 2005
Warning: Spoilers
This is not an easy film to watch and so I cannot recommend it to everyone. I involves the sick relationship between a young lady who is entrusted to the care of her guardian after the death of her parents. At first, this older man appears to be very strict and concerned about her virtue by keeping her away from young suiters. However, ultimately this supposed benevolence is exposed for hypocrisy when the old man begins making sexual overtures to his young ward. Ultimately, he rapes her (though he justified this to himself and clearly acted as if it was not rape) and ruins her life. However, over time, she becomes more bitter and cold--and this transition becomes so apparent and ironic at the film's conclusion.

Catherine Deneuve and Fernando Rey are both superb in the movie, as is the pacing, direction and cinematography. Depressing but exceptionally well-made.
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Dark and Brooding Drama
truemythmedia25 July 2019
I found Luis Bunuel and Catherine Deneuve's previous film together, "Belle De Jour", to be an absolute delight. I reviewed that film as part of our French film series, and it felt only right when preparing for the Spanish series, that I should make an effort to watch Bunuel and Deneuve's Spanish collaboration. While I must admit, I personally enjoyed "Belle De Jour" more than this film, this movie is certainly worth watching; furthermore, it cemented in my mind how truly diverse Bunuel's style can be. I've only seen a few of his films so far, but he's quickly risen in my books as a director I need to further familiarize myself with. As for Deneuve, I've seen quite a few of her films at this point, and I've become quite a fan of her work. Deneuve picks incredibly unique scripts with a diverse range of characters; from the frightened sex-repulsed young Carol in "Repulsion" to the delightfully loveable Genevieve in "The Umbrellas of Cherbourg" to the seductive and troubled Severine in "Belle De Jour", Deneuve tends to steal scene after scene. She is just as impressive in this film as in her other roles, though I would by no means call her character frightened or lovable or seductive. Deneuve's character in this movie is something else entirely. For our full review of Tristana and hundreds of other reviews, articles, and podcast episodes visit us at True Myth Media!
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One of Buñuel's 10 best
Daniel Karlsson7 March 2004
I like all films by Buñuel, and I don't think any of his films are boring. Yet, even if they could be very remarkable, some films are much "cheaper", less perfect than others, maybe because they were on a more limited budget. Tristana, though, is one of the perfect ones, in terms well-made:ness. I haven't got much to complain about this film. There is only one piece of music, and obviously Buñuel didn't put much music in his films, but it's acceptable, perhaps a good thing. The acting is very good. Rey is very good. I find the most impressive things to be the script and the dialog, which are fantastic.

Not the most surrealistic work, yet, probably one of Buñuel's ten most well-made.
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Dubbing and abrupt transitions ruin it
peru1-595-63010627 September 2013
I must have watched a different movie than the reviewers who call this "the top movie of all time" a 10 plus and so forth.

First of all dubbing robs 90% of an actor's abilities and the two main characters are dubbed De Neuve and Fernando sounds like a spaghetti western. Also the many times used theme of a Gigi like uncle who falls in love with his niece (charge in this case) is not shocking or particularly interesting. Zola used it in Dr. Pascal.

As another reviewer states this is a novel turned into a movie so all the changes that occur in DeNeuve seem too abrupt as they try to pack 300 pages into an hour and half. Suddenly Tristana is a bitter woman....from an innocent girl. Also please if this is a world quality movie why did the director use that tired old technique of showing the hands only when Tristana is playing the piano.

Also although very minor there were slip ups in the time editing...a modern car can be seen in the back ground of one of the scenes and the train lines were electrified.

I am sure the movie can be micro-analyzed for symbolism and visual cues..on the door of the apartment they live in is the faint white scrawl of a man's face and so forth (death?).I am sure it is flawless in this way...but as far a convincing as to why DeNeuve turns jaded it just doesn't work well---the dubbing and the abruptness mainly...

I did find the main character's hypocrisy good a socialist ordering glazed maroons and living the high life....although in a leftie directors eyes this may not have been intended to be hypocrisy but rather showing his sophistication. God knows that is quite possible.

I did not quite understand the deaf young men's symbolism. Didn't find it worth speculating on.

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jboothmillard28 February 2014
Warning: Spoilers
From director Luis Buñuel (Un Chien Andalou, Land Without Bread, Belle De Jour, The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie), this Spanish film was another listed in the book 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die, so it didn't matter that I knew nothing about it, I was going to watch it. Basically set in 1930's Spain, teenager Tristana (Catherine Deneuve) is orphaned after the death of her servant mother, she is adopted by her mother's master, elderly respected aristocrat Don Lope (Fernando Rey), despite having socialistic views about business and religion he is well known and liked by many. But the biggest weakness Don Lope has is for women, and despite being her trusted guardian he cannot help but fall in love with Tristana, to the point that he seduces her, and she becomes his lover, although it is much more sexual abuse of the innocent young woman, she is not completely aware of the implications as he often tells her she is free to do what she wants. A year or two later Tristana finds her own voice, demanding to study music, art and other subjects and wanting to become independent, and she one day meets young artist Horacio Díaz (Franco Nero), and she flees Toledo and her guardian with him as they have fallen in love. However Tristana is forced to return years later when she has a terminal disease on her leg, she is forced to have this leg amputated, but she survives the illness, and returning to Don Lope he asks for her hand in marriage which she accepts, but the change in her life has made her bitter, and Don Lope must live with the consequences of his actions towards his adoptive daughter. Also starring Lola Gaos as Saturna, Antonio Casas as Don Cosme, Jesús Fernández as Saturno and Vicente Soler as Don Ambrosio. It was nominated the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film. Deneuve gives a terrific chilling performance as the young woman who grows up with perhaps an alternative view on life and the ways of the world, and Rey is also terrific as the man who has done it to her and who you can have no pity for, it is an interesting story with a twisted relationship and the need to escape or get revenge for ruining a life, I admit it wasn't all that easy to follow on occasions, but all in all it is worthwhile period drama. Very good!
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A magnetic and unforgettable movie
dani_garto865 January 2020
Buñuel is pure genius in the constuction of the different images and framing. Delicate cinematography, social criticism and more, with the good style and pacefull narrative. Toledo is the best possible scenario for the story which is told like it was inside an unconforttable dream. Spell and art with magnificent interpretations.
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simple story
Kirpianuscus8 January 2017
a simple story. nothing more. same themes of Bunuel universe. same clash between innocence and impulses. the air of ancient Greek tragedy, in which all is leading by faith. impressive performances of Catherine Deneuve and Fernando Rey. the transformation of Tristana . and the ambiguous status of victim. it is a confession - film. not the confession of characters or director but one of the viewer.because it is good occasion to discover yourself front to the spider web of a story about sensuality and cruelty and challenges , in the atmosphere imposed by Bunuel as clothes for each word and gesture. a film who impose the cold air as the protective window.
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For viewers 'Tristana' might be an important film but it lacks criticism and sharpness for which Luis Buñuel was famous.
FilmCriticLalitRao29 September 2014
It is true that Spanish film 'Tristana' is considered an important work in the cinematographic career of Luis Buñuel. It has all the necessary ingredients to make it extremely appealing to viewers namely an excellent cast of versatile actors: Fernando Rey and Catherine Deneuve. For making it, Buñuel chose to adapt realist novelist Benito Perez Galdoz's eponymous novel. However, despite all these strong points, Tristana lacks the criticism and sharpness which one finds in most films made by Buñuel especially films in which he has made mockery of organized religion and its practices. Tristana does not succeed much as it appears as a plain drama. The sad thing is that criticism of Spanish nobility and its members' lifestyle is missing from this film. What viewers get to see are a series of dramatic situations which unroll in quick succession. This is one reason why even no commentary has been made about the role of freedom for Spanish women who wanted to get rid of dominating male influence in their lives. This is strange as it was something which Buñuel wanted to portray in his film.
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mediocre, but not completely pointless
rogierr8 August 2001
Try this: 'Viridiana' meets 'Cet obscure objet du désir', but it is one of the least shocking, least surreal and least fascinating films by Buñuel. There are some brief illusional sequences and Deneuve is said to be the most expensive part of this film, but her performance doesn't reflect it. It is simply not convincing enough. Nevertheless it is a recognizable Buñuel concept in a subtle and accessible film. Cinematographer Jose F. Aguayo (Viridiana) did a fine job (in color) that looks like a step in the direction of the cinematography of Buñuel's last three films. No music as always for maximum sobriety. I don't especially want to recommend this, though I would like to see it again some day myself. If only to revive the great Fernando Rey (French Connection, Viridiana, The Immortal Story)...

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