Francisco Rabal

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Viridiana Review


Extraordinary
"I don't have ideas," Luis Buñuel once stated in an interview for the French television show, Cinéastes de Notre Temps. "It's all instinct." That 1964 interview is included among the supplements in Criterion's just-released DVD of Viridiana, Buñuel's 1961 morality tale turned inside-out. Indeed, interpreting Buñuel's stories as a system of "ideas," as intellectually articulated attacks against church, class, and state, seems off the mark. Buñuel's movies are not manifestos; they don't function on an intellectual level as, say, Godard's cinema does, but at a more subliminal, and, thus, more deeply affecting one. Sure, Buñuel mistrusted social institutions, but who among us doesn't (unless you're on the board of Exxon or Halliburton)? Buñuel isn't interested in social institutions themselves, but in those human beings corralled by such institutions into large, unruly groups, and how quickly their conduct devolves into spasms of primal behavior. His movies wear the veil of social decorum, but it's not long before his characters' basest, most visceral appetites tear through and take over, along with Buñuel's comic-absurdist instincts that comprise the hallmark of his cinema.

With his steady, deadpan gaze, Buñuel follows his titular protagonist (Sylvia Pinal), a plainly beautiful nun on a visit to her lonely, estranged uncle, Don Jaime (Fernando Rey), thus beginning her descent into disillusionment. She learns not only that Don Jaime's wife died on their wedding night, but, weirdly enough, she reminds him of her. In a Buñuelian mind-trip, we watch as Don Jaime lingers privately over his long-departed's bridal gown and veil, tries on her satin slippers, and models her corset in the mirror. Is this guy kinky, or just morbidly grieving? We're not sure, even after he gets Viridiana to dress up like her, and proposes to his niece. When Viridiana, aghast, refuses, Jaime drugs her coffee and attempts to rape her before he's wracked with shame and backs away. His shame ultimately sends the lust-crazed, lovelorn Don Jaime up a tree and down a rope, but it also sends Viridiana into a tailspin of guilt. She decides to remain at the estate, to take in the village poor and tend to their comforts. Meanwhile, Don Jamie's illegitimate son, Jorge (Francisco Rabal) -- the product of the rake's one-time union with a peasant woman -- shows up, having inherited the property.

Continue reading: Viridiana Review

Viridiana Review


Extraordinary
"I don't have ideas," Luis Buñuel once stated in an interview for the French television show, Cinéastes de Notre Temps. "It's all instinct." That 1964 interview is included among the supplements in Criterion's just-released DVD of Viridiana, Buñuel's 1961 morality tale turned inside-out. Indeed, interpreting Buñuel's stories as a system of "ideas," as intellectually articulated attacks against church, class, and state, seems off the mark. Buñuel's movies are not manifestos; they don't function on an intellectual level as, say, Godard's cinema does, but at a more subliminal, and, thus, more deeply affecting one. Sure, Buñuel mistrusted social institutions, but who among us doesn't (unless you're on the board of Exxon or Halliburton)? Buñuel isn't interested in social institutions themselves, but in those human beings corralled by such institutions into large, unruly groups, and how quickly their conduct devolves into spasms of primal behavior. His movies wear the veil of social decorum, but it's not long before his characters' basest, most visceral appetites tear through and take over, along with Buñuel's comic-absurdist instincts that comprise the hallmark of his cinema.

With his steady, deadpan gaze, Buñuel follows his titular protagonist (Sylvia Pinal), a plainly beautiful nun on a visit to her lonely, estranged uncle, Don Jaime (Fernando Rey), thus beginning her descent into disillusionment. She learns not only that Don Jaime's wife died on their wedding night, but, weirdly enough, she reminds him of her. In a Buñuelian mind-trip, we watch as Don Jaime lingers privately over his long-departed's bridal gown and veil, tries on her satin slippers, and models her corset in the mirror. Is this guy kinky, or just morbidly grieving? We're not sure, even after he gets Viridiana to dress up like her, and proposes to his niece. When Viridiana, aghast, refuses, Jaime drugs her coffee and attempts to rape her before he's wracked with shame and backs away. His shame ultimately sends the lust-crazed, lovelorn Don Jaime up a tree and down a rope, but it also sends Viridiana into a tailspin of guilt. She decides to remain at the estate, to take in the village poor and tend to their comforts. Meanwhile, Don Jamie's illegitimate son, Jorge (Francisco Rabal) -- the product of the rake's one-time union with a peasant woman -- shows up, having inherited the property.

Continue reading: Viridiana Review

Goya In Bordeaux Review


Good
I'll admit, I have fit all my knowledge of Spanish painter Francisco Goya into the sentence you're reading right now. What's a Spanish painter doing in Bordeaux, France? I don't know, and after watching this film, I still don't know. I had to read a synopsis on the movie's web site to find out he had been exiled there. I'm still not sure why.

To be certain, Goya in Bordeaux assumes the audience is deeply intimate with his Goya's work, his life, and his politics. It's a love letter written to the man by writer/director Carlos Saura, who clearly idealizes everything about the artist. Unless you are like Saura, this will undoubtedly be seen as a not good thing.

Continue reading: Goya In Bordeaux Review

Dagon Review


Weak
Reuniting Re-Animator director Stuart Gordon and producer Brian Yuzna, Dagon unfortunately proves that no amount of nudity can redeem a zombie-fish-creature movie

That's right, it's zombie-fish-creatures as a boatload of four tourists visit a coastal Spanish town and soon find themselves on the run from the aforementioned beasts -- disciples, as it turns out, of the ancient sea creature Dagon.

Continue reading: Dagon Review

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Goya in Bordeaux Movie Review

Goya in Bordeaux Movie Review

I'll admit, I have fit all my knowledge of Spanish painter Francisco Goya into the...

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