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L'┬ge d'or (1930) - Luis Bunuel

Related: avant-garde film - surrealist film - film - Luis Bu˝uel - 1930

L'Age d'Or/The Age of Gold (1930) - Luis Bu˝uel [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

According to the Surrealists, nothing can counteract the deadly burden of institutions and Establishment except irrational, anarchic, wild love. In a film devoted to this theme, a frustrated, sexually aroused woman passionately sucks the toe of a statue in a display of foot fetishism quite typical of Bunuel's work; further implications are inevitable. --Film As a Subversive Art (1974) - Amos Vogel


The continued power of the religious taboo makes this "dated", slightly ridiculous image important by withholding it from public view; for here, at the end of Bunuel's anti-bourgeois and anti-clerical shocker, we are introduced to the "depraved monster" and "main instigator" of a 120-day orgy of debauchery and perversion: Jesus Christ. SC

The two most famous surrealist works of world cinema, Un Chien Andalou and L'Age d'Or, were made by Bunuel at the start of his career in the space of one year. The second film, L'Age d'Or, is largely unavailable; its producer the Vicomte de Noailles, a convert to Catholicism in his later years, withdrew it from circulation as blas- phemous. It is a work of poetic sensibility, mordantly anti-bourgeois and anti-clerical. Although, as Bunuel put it, its incidents have been freed of the corruption of plausibility, they do counterpose love to the fossilized institutions of bourgeois society. Among various incidents one recalls a raging fire at a manor party, with hosts and guests entirely unaware (comparable in Bunuel's latest, The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie), an angry man throwing a giraffe and a cardinal out of the window, a passionate woman sucking the toe of a statue, a hero who kicks dogs and knocks down the blind, a gamekeeper who shoots his son, and invading bishops, soon seen as skeletons. In accord with surrealist ideology, only love -- wild, anarchic, irrational love -- is acceptable. Everything else is subverted; the rich, the church, the state, the military, as well as those pervasive bourgeois vices of sentimentality and romanticism, so offensive to Bunuel through- out his life. In the final scene, a title introduces "the four utterly depraved scoundrels who had just gone through 120 days of the most unspeakable orgies, led by their Principal and chief instigator: de Sade's Duke of Blangis" -- who is none other than Jesus Christ. --Film As a Subversive Art (1974) - Amos Vogel

L'┬ge d'Or is a 1930 surrealist film directed by Luis Bu˝uel and written by Bu˝uel and Salvador DalÝ.

The film was financed to the tune of a million francs by the nobleman Vicomte de Noailles, who commissioned a film every year for his wife's birthday. When it was first released, there was a storm of protest. A riot broke out at the Paris premier in 1930. A group of incensed members of the League of Patriots and the Anti-Semitic League threw ink at the screen, assaulted members of the audience and destroyed art work by Salvador DalÝ, Max Ernst and others on display in the foyer. It was subsequently banned for nearly 50 years.

The film consisted of a series of vignettes, the most sustained of which details the story of a man and a woman who are passionately in love. Their attempts to consummate their passion are constantly thwarted, by their families, by the Church and bourgeois society in general. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/L%27%C2ge_d%27Or [Dec 2004]

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