Sunday, January 6, 2013

L'Age d'Or

With Luis Buñuel's Tristana playing at the Landmark Opera Plaza this week, it seems as if I planned procrastinating about another Buñuel film.  I watched L'Age d'Or at the YBCA in September.

L'Age d'Or starring Gaston Modot; directed by Luis Buñuel; French with subtitles; (1930)

The screenplay for L'Age d'Or was co-written by Buñuel and Spanish surrealist Salvador Dalí.  L'Age d'Or can only be described as surrealist.  The "plot" is barely visible throughout the film and by end of ~60 minute feature, Buñuel has completely abandoned it in favor of allusion to a Marquis de Sade novel.

The nominal plot involves a man (Gaston Modot) and woman (Lya Lys) having their lovemaking interrupted repeatedly in different locations.  The couple seem to move through time as part of the film is set in ancient Rome.  The iconic image from the film is that of Lys sucking the big toe of a statue in a manner to suggest fellatio.  This was one of the main reasons the film was banned almost immediately upon its release.

The final scene invokes de Sade's 120 Days of Sodom but transposes a character who appears like Jesus Christ.  It is implied this character kills a woman off screen and the final image is of a crucifix with scalps of women attached to it.

What am I supposed to make of this film?  Asking that question w.r.t. a surrealist piece of art seems to defeat the purpose.

Many years of ago, I saw Buñuel's Belle de Jour (1967) with the radiant Catherine Deneuve.  I recall enjoying that film.  I'm hoping Buñuel & Deneuve's second collaboration, Tristana (1970), is equally enjoyable.

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