Sunday, June 20, 2010

VIRIDIANA (Spanish) (1961)

‘Fortunately, somewhere between chance and mystery lies imagination, the only thing that protects our freedom, despite the fact that people keep trying to reduce it or kill it off altogether.’
– Luis Bunuel

Viridiana is a film about an angelic, young, compassionate and pious nun abstained herself from all worldly pleasure when nature had planned another scheme for her. In her all attempts to be ethically true Christian she got more and more blows from those men whom she tried to help with utmost selfless noble intentions. First it was her uncle, a bunch of poor beggars and vagabonds of the street and last her own cousin. The satirical contrast aimed at society is striking one. Perhaps Bunuel wanted to convey us that the religious man no longer able to change the human condition with morality when the society is selfish and corrupt one.

Luis Bunuel was more auteur than director and his signature symbolic- surreal touch reflects throughout the film- a girl skipping a rope with changing positions of her legs contrasted with a suicide attempt by the rope, a dog tied to a cart followed with a leper tied with can, uncle trying his niece’s high heels. Camera remained focusing on legs of characters with some classic mise-en-scenes where rope and crown of throne seeks as much attention as significant character. But the best part lies in showing dark play of intoxicated bunch letting their madness runs frenzy in house. They were all non professional actors made you feel the real chaos of lost human souls.

One has to watch the reflections of minute behavior and gestures of Bunuel characters to comprehend fully the unknown subconscious. He showed us the mirror of repressed sexuality and aggression of pervert human behavior left in the dark chambers of our psyche which we don’t want to face since it disturbs our conscience. Though the more ambiguous ending in director’s cut version was changed with censor interruption compared to now available film; it’s nevertheless fine example of open ending. Silvia Pinal is angelic both in look and her character and will remain in memory for long time.

Though the film hailed as great film winning Palm d’ Or at Cannes, Spain banned the film and Vatican church denounced the film for the revolutionary depiction of Christianity.

Bunuel’s Masterpiece and classic of Spanish cinema.


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