Luis Buñuel, Viridiana (still), 1961; image: courtesy Janus Films

Film

Viridiana

Part of Modern Cinema: Criterion Collection and Apichatpong Weerasethakul

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Banned in Spain and denounced by the Vatican, Luis Buñuel’s irreverent vision of life as a beggar’s banquet is regarded by many as his masterpiece. In it, novice nun Viridiana does her utmost to maintain her Catholic principles, but her lecherous uncle and a motley assemblage of paupers force her to confront the limits of her idealism. Winner of the Palme d’Or at the 1961 Cannes Film Festival, Viridiana is as audacious today as ever.

“[Buñuel] is not among the greatest of all filmmakers simply for courting controversy. Each of his formal decisions, even when seemingly anarchic, reveals a piercing worldview.” —Ben Sachs, Cine-File

“Luis Buñuel never met a sacred cow he didn’t want to grill into a medium-rare steak, and the director’s all-out assault on his bête noire—Catholicism—is a virtual buffet of blasphemy. Invited back to Spain after a professional exile, the filmmaker rewarded Franco’s government with a scathing tale of a saintly woman whose piety brings her endless pain. The movie’s parody of The Last Supper alone was enough to warrant the Vatican banning the satire—which made Buñuel’s subsequent career revival and win at Cannes that year all the sweeter.” —David Fear, Time Out New York


Film Details

Country: Spain
Language: Spanish
Year: 1961
Running time: 90 min
Director: Luis Buñuel
Producer: Gustavo Alatriste
Writers: Luis Buñuel, Julio Alejandro
Cinematographer: José F. Aguayo
Editor: Pedro del Rey
Music: Gustavo Pittaluga
With: Silvia Pinal, Francisco Rabal, Fernando Rey
Print Source: Janus Films


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