Meh. I really like Catherine Deneuve, but her work with Bunuel isn't her best. It felt like the first half of Viridiana extended to 2 mediocre hours. The only thing I was intrigued by was the metaphor of the deaf boy and the bell which is a good presentation of someone who's freed from the constraints of society. If anything, the story should have been about him.
Having only seen roughly half of Buñuel's films (missing most of the prolific early '50's, and NAZARIN), and while this might feel like mustard in between the thick cuts of EL (crowning masterpiece) and TOOoD, this film being a more "realistic" variation between the two; this made me revisit his filmography. I am pretty much mind blown. Jumping like a suicidal leap frog, his filmography sequence is unparalleled.
"[Long ago] when there was a lot of religion, people timed things by the bells, and they obeyed them. There was the ... the death knell, the fire warning, the victory bells, the call to mass, the peel for devotions. People listened, they went to visit the dying, to bury the dead, or to get their firearms if there was an alert. Times have changed. People are chasing after money. They don't listen." - The Bell-ringer
At the beginning of his final decade of filmmaking, Buñuel is on tip-top form with an adaptation of a novel by Benito Pérez Galdós, author of Viridiana. By his standards, it's a relatively straightforward work lacking his usual surreal touches; a critique of Spanish society in which Rey is masterly as the ageing Don Lope, guardian and father-figure to Deneuve's orphan - until lust gets the better of him.. Wonderful..
“Une fille ne reste honnête qu’avec une jambe cassée, et chez elle.” " – Où va cette ravissante personne? – Elle va chercher un fiancé. – Eh bien, il est tout trouvé ma jolie. – Trop vieux. – Pas si vieux que ça, le diable est loin d’être mort." “It’s good to have dreams, even if they’re frightening… The dead don’t dream.”
A good production littered with Buñuel archetypes and motifs. It surprises me it's not more popular- maybe due to its unavailability. But after Belle de Jour, you'd expect more attention. It's a decent film, and Deneuve's performance is in top shape. I did not have a strong connection with it, however. I like it, but it's not in my favorites by him. I don't know. I'm rather apathetic to it, really.