In an interview to magazine "Telerama", Jean Sorel said that although he did not get along well with director Luis Bunuel during the filming of "Belle de Jour" in 1967 , he offered to him the role of Jesus in "la voie lactée" .But Jean Sorel turned it down because, at this time, he had an assignment for a movie in Italy. See more »
During the scene with the "free love" Catholics in the forest, the wide angle shots are taken during the day, while the close-ups and medium shots are clearly not during the day. See more »
Buñuel takes a few high caliber shots at religion and chastity
Le fantôme de la liberté (Buñuel, 1974) seems to take off right from this film as if it were a sequel, visually and conceptually. This film however is much more determined to denounce the contradictions and hypocrisy of different religions, while Fantôme has even more artistic freedom. Also this is much more coherent and if there is any danger of getting heavy-handed, Buñuel knows how to joke himself a way out using illusionism or a mild shock-treatment. It is simultaneously very rational and miraculous. The anti-clericism and subversive desires frequently come to the surreal surface. I can't help but see this as an inspiration for Monty Python's 'Life of Brian' (1979), because that film also remotely feels like an off the wall road movie in which anything can happen.
The subject matter was sort of tough for an atheist (heretic?) like me, but the humour with which Buñuel lets the characters throw the crucial differences between religions at each other is hilarious. E.g. in the middle of a duel between a Catholic and a Jesuit: 'Prior will is mere impulse. My thoughts and my will are not in my own power ... ma liberte est un fantôme.' 'What does freedom mean anyway? How can I be free if what I do is determined in advance?' etc. And why would all the personnel of a restaurant be caught up in an eloquent discussion about the existence of God while they are at work? See for yourself. Cinematographer Christian Matras (also Le Grande Illusion, 1937) continues to improve Buñuel's visual style using zoom-pan-zoom shots for instance, but keeps it sober.
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