This surrealist film consists of a series of only vaguely related episodes, most famously the dinner party scene in which people sit on lavatories round a dinner table, occasionally retiring to a small room to eat.Written by
Michael Brooke <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Liberty is a concept by which we measure our laws..
Although Bunuel was to make one more film,"cet obscur objet du désir" ,"phantom of liberty" would remain his testament,his last sigh ,to mention the title of his memoirs.
The key to the movie is the segment dealing with the naughty gendarmes,the sociology teacher and Margaret Mead's books.Law must not be taken for granted,it depends on where and when you live.Something which would seem unbearable to us is nothing but natural to other human beings.The whole movie walks this fine line,being built around this very concept.It is Bunuel's most accessible movie and it's completely mad,which is fine with me.Its construction is not unlike Max Ophuls's "la ronde" (1950) as a new character provides the connection between the segments.It's not really free-form ,in the sense of the nouvelle vague ,nothing Godardesque here and anyway,Bunuel possessed something Jean-Luc will never have:humor.And the screenplay displays care and respect for the audience.One should point out Jean-Claude Carrière's importance in Bunuel's last works in France.
In "discreet charm of the bourgeoisie" ,humor which was latent in the former works (the dogs in "Viridiana" ;the pineapple in "Nazarin" ) came to the fore."Phantom" is probably not as strong as the previous work:it's sometimes uneven and some segments (the old aunt and her nephew)drag on.But most of the times,it's a delight.Bunuel's usual targets ,the Church and the Army are both given a rough ride .But social conventions ,"normality" are too.
A bevy of great actors take us to a magical mystery tour (Bunuel's regret was that too many movies lack mystery) Here he focused on the secret of the passage of the night hours ,wherever the action takes place ,in Brialy's and Vitti's bedroom or the inn where the guests are weird to say the least (the scenes in the inn recall those of "la voie lactée,1969).And the ostrich in the couple's room ,we find it back at the zoo,for the finale,when repression rises.When we bury our head in the sand ,French people call it "ostrish politics"! Bunuel was a great man.Everything he did is crying to be watched.When the movie was released,probably upset by the huge commercial success ,some critics called it "Bunuel' s holiday homework".Time proved them wrong.In 2005,"phantom" is solid as a rock.
12 of 20 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this