Bourgeois convention is demolished in Luis Buñuel’s surrealist gem The Phantom of Liberty, featuring an elegant soiree with guests seated at toilet bowls, poker-playing monks using religious medals as chips, and police officers looking for a missing girl who is right under their noses.
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I'm not sure surrealism in the service of comedy is surreal anymore. It's just comedy. Like the movie 'Airplane'. I prefer that the surrealism is taken seriously. This is a bunch of gags which is pleasant enough, but it doesn't fill your soul like 'Discreet Charm'. But you're not going to see a whole lot of comedies on my best of list, so take it with a grain of salt.
Rationally leaves the room when an emu enters it, as this film shows. A continuous flow of unfinished narratives, and some of Bunuel's most overtly surreal and comedic ideas, this manages to be a more digestible and yet is less conventional than his other work, and containing some exceptionally dark humour despite the silly tone to some of the segments. By the end the serious ideas behind the hilarity rings true.
As Buñuel of all people must know, Surrealism is at its most effective when it's at its most irrational. So one of the big surprises of Phantom is how much of its symbolism was not just obvious, but shockingly literal. But see it: the structure is brilliant, and a comic lightness allows the film to make any number of big statements without sinking into pretension. History's artiest, most consistent SNL episode.
I keep repeating 'Holy shit' for every fucked up mumbo jumbo scenes that appears in this crawesome absurd masterpiece. The Phantom of Liberty is good, it's really good, but The Extermenating Angel is still Luis Bunuel best works imo.
The segments are rife with criticisms to society, and yet manage to be hilarious. The key-word absurd tells you that you will see some incongruous moments, but it does not prepare you for the funny and irreverent approach Buñuel employs. Some segments move a little too slow, especially at the end, but the effect remains whole.
Buñuel's dark sense of humour can make us not only witnesses but supporters of this derision to all institutions that rule society. A concatenation of segments that adress tragedies, misbehavings and formalisms with the same farcical tone. Possibly inspired by 'The Saragossa manuscript' one of Buñuel's personal favourite films.