Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Capital Celluloid - Day 162: Monday June 13

The Phantom of Liberty (Bunuel, 1974): The Chapel, 21 Old Ford Road, Bethnal Green. 7.30pm

Luis Bunuel's favourite of all his films. He said of the movie: "Chance governs all things; necessity, which is far from having the same purity, comes only later. If I have a soft spot for any one of my movies, it would be for The Phantom of Liberty, because it tries to work out just this theme."

Time out review:

'As a good Surrealist who aimed to disturb rather than to please, Buñuel must have felt that the Oscar which crowned the worldwide success of The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie was the last straw. At any rate, he made sure that this isn't such an easy pill to digest, though its delightful humour goes down just as easily. The Chinese box structure, with a series of bizarre episodes never quite reaching the point of resolution, is exactly the same as in the earlier film. But where The Discreet Charm used the interrupted dinner-party as a comfortably recognisable motif, The Phantom of Liberty works more disconcertingly by stringing its episodes on an invisible thread woven by the prologue (where Spanish patriots welcome the firing-squad with cries of 'Long live chains!', and a Captain of Dragoons falls in love with a statue of a saint). Thereafter, beneath the surface, the film busily explores the process whereby the human mind, burying itself ostrich-like in convention, invariably fails to recognise the true nature of freedom and sexuality.' Tom Milne

Here is an extract.

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