Monday, July 23, 2012

Luis Buñuel: L’Âge d’or / The Golden Age, Take I

Surrealism punctuates Luis Buñuel's L’Âge d’or / The Golden Age (1930), but there are enough slow, stable sequences that one can remain somewhat oriented to the bizarro plot. It's a little like the Marx Brothers in Duck Soup (1933) without being so over-the-top, with a touch of Monty Python's Flying Circus (1969-1974) and a hint of Jean-Luc Godard's Les Carabiniers (1963). On the other hand, it's entirely different from almost anything else in cinema except for other films by Luis Buñuel himself.

The "initial" script for L’Âge d’or was concocted by Salvador Dalí, but the Buñuelean motifs and tropes flow backward and forward through earlier and later works. There are almost always people being thwarted -- or egged on -- by social forces; and various animals sporadically appear in odd places -- such as, in L’Âge d’or, a large cow standing drolly in a person's bed, and a small (toy) giraffe tumbling out of a window; there are usually insects; and hallucinations and dream sequences; there are distortions of time and space; and wry, satirical iconoclastic barbs; well executed movements of the camera; and orchestrated employment of music, food and drink; plus various other apparent repeat obsessions. Weird -- and memorable, whether one wishes it to be or not!

Among other things, Buñuel seems always to be showing how there never was a Golden Age -- human beings have always been strange and conflicted, partly by choice, seemingly at random and to an absurd extent.

Today's Rune: Separation (Reversed).  

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