Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB.5.
Original title: La Voie Lactee
West Germany/Italy, 1969. Greenwich Film Productions, Fraia Film. Screenplay by Luis Bunuel, Jean-Claude Carriere. Cinematography by Christian Matras. Produced by Serge Silberman. Music by Luis Bunuel. Production Design by Pierre Guffroy. Costume Design by Jacqueline Guyot. Film Editing by Louisette Hautecoeur.
Two modern-day pilgrims (actually beggars) make the journey from France to Spain’s holy Santiago de Compostela, along the way meeting figures from the past and present who relate scenarios of religious significance. This being a Luis Bunuel film, none of the stories are particularly faithful to scriptural text: nuns are crucified, whores provide holy wisdom, Christ is whimsically humorous and moral guidance is passed on by the Marquis de Sade (played with his usually brilliant, dry detachment by Michel Piccoli). It isn’t outlandish enough to be full-on heresy, but more conservative viewers will be taken aback by the deliciously humorous way that Bunuel deals with religious imagery, while fans of his will be delighted. It’s far from his best, but it’s so varied and rich that it merits repeat viewings just to glean everything it has to offer in its dense 100-minute running time.
The Criterion Collection: #402