Apart from the surrealist game trope (cue: exquisite corpse), one of Bunuel's greatest abilities is to subvert melodramatic tropes at will. While many masters have tried this, nobody has done this so effectively like Bunuel, and Phantom of Liberty is probably his pinnacle in this exercise where almost all possible melodramatic situations are addressed and their politics, dissected. One of his last hurrahs.
Perhaps it didn't age as well as some other Buñuel's, but it seems to me that he just got lazy between "Charm" and "Object of desire" and decided to produce this pastiche of odd bits and ends. Do not watch it back to back with contemporary sketch comedy, such as Key & Peele: oof.
It took me a while to ‘get’ Bunuel. This is the one that did it. In a world as insane as the one we have created the most absurd occurances are accepted as normal. When the scenes of the man murdering people at random from a tower occurs in the daily news cycle we know that we’ve truly entered Bunuel’s world. If David Lynch made comedies they would look like this. Only the zoo animals appear reasonably aware.
3.5 / It's almost as if Buñuel is just whispering to you, from a corner five feet away behind you, "SURREALISM" and hoping you catch on to his light blue thread weaved throughout, as well as his brand of innuendo, but ultimately giving himself up by throwing pictures of flightless dinosaur birds in your eyes
"Bourgeois convention is demolished in Luis Buñuel’s surrealist gem...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. Perverse, playfully absurd."
Most peculiar. It's like an unfunny but bizarre episode of Monty Python. There's a 5-minute scene, then we follow a new character walking out of that scene and into a new one. Then that scene goes on for 5 or 10 minutes, then a very tenuous connection to a new scene, etc. Each scene is bizarre in its own way. It would have been a better movie if these scenes were funny, but being bizarre is good enough.
By turning reality into a series of surreal circumstances, we are forced to question the reality that we take for granted everyday. We are so planted in what we think we know to be true, that by challenging those beliefs, we are forced to be more open. Buñuel twists reality, choosing not to reaffirm our beliefs, but to challenge them instead. In Phantom he does so with a quiet wit, & with a subtle & satisfying depth.