Viridiana – Luis Buñuel (1961)


Viridiana: The Human Comedy – “Luis Buñuel shot Viridiana in the early months of 1961, in his native Spain. It was the first film he had made there since his departure for the United States and Mexico in 1939, and he was much criticized for embarking on this return at a time when the fascist dictator Francisco Franco still ruled. How could Buñuel, the protester, the loyalist, and the long-term exile, work in the enemy’s country, even if that country was also his own? But he clearly had his reasons. A contemporary cartoon that circulated widely showed him, in its first frame, arriving in Spain to be greeted by a beaming Franco. In the background a man is protesting loudly. In the second frame, ­Buñuel hands over to Franco a box wrapped with a broad, fancy ribbon. The man in the background continues to protest. In the third and last frame, the box has exploded in Franco’s face, and Buñuel is leaving. The protester is speechless. This is pretty much what happened, ­although the director did say in his autobiography that Franco himself reportedly didn’t especially object to the film. Buñuel added wryly, ‘To tell the truth, after all he had seen, the film must have seemed very inno­cent to him.’ Viridiana marked an important moment in Buñuel’s career, his return not only to Spain but to international fame and filmmaking. The bare facts of his life tell an interesting tale: of how a Spanish director with an interest in French surrealism became a Mexican director who shot six of his last eight films in France. … Viridiana, whatever Franco’s personal opinion, did cause a tremendous stir. It won the Palme d’or at Cannes (with Henri Colpi’s Une aussi longue absence), and the Catholic world, starting with the Vatican’s newspaper, L’osservatore Romano, was instantly up in arms. The Spanish government, having initially approved the film’s submission at Cannes—although virtually no one in Spain had seen it—now sacked the official responsible for this move and banned the film; it wasn’t shown in Spain until 1977. Meanwhile, it had acquired Mexican nationality, like its director, and a vast reputation. …”
Criterion – Viridiana: The Human Comedy
W – Viridiana
Religion is Guilt With Different Holidays: Luis Bunuel’s Viridiana (1961)
Criterion
YouTube: Viridiana Trailer by Luis Bunuel, Dog Scene

About 1960s: Days of Rage

Bill Davis - 1960s: Days of Rage
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