Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB.5.
Original title: Le Fantome De La Liberte
Italy/France, 1974. Greenwich Film Productions. Screenplay by Luis Bunuel, Jean-Claude Carriere. Cinematography by Edmond Richard. Produced by Serge Silberman. Production Design by Pierre Guffroy. Costume Design by Jacqueline Guyot. Film Editing by Helene Plemiannikov.
Luis Bunuel takes the touches of surrealism he used in The Discreet Charm of The Bourgeoisie and the religious disrespect of The Milky Way and goes all the way with them in this formless but highly enjoyable film, his second to last before his death in 1983. It is a series of sketches that are interconnected by the most random of details, including monks who play poker with religious coins, a dinner table where people sit on toilets, and parents who are disappointed in their children for carrying “dirty” postcards of famous landmarks that they got from a pervert in the park. The experience is positively strange, one that will offer some reward for Bunuel’s experienced fans but for the uninitiated will be a total bust. Imagine what would have happened if Bunuel was a writer for Saturday Night Live and you have some idea of what the movie is like. Technical expertise is no disappointment, as usual, since Bunuel shoots, directs and edits everything to perfection, and gets marvelous performances out of the entire cast including a gorgeously funny Monica Vitti in a cameo.
The Criterion Collection: #290