Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Luis Bunuel's L'Age d'Or|
Actors: Gaston Modot, Lya Lys, Caridad de Laberdesque, Max Ernst, Josep Llorens Artigas
Director: Luis Buuel
Genres: Indie & Art House, Comedy, Drama
A man and a woman are passionately in love with one another but their attempts to consummate that passion are constantly thwarted by their families the church and bourgeois society. Studio: Kino International Release Dat... more »
Great movie aborted by Kino
Rimbaud | K.C. , Mo. | 12/08/2004
(2 out of 5 stars)
"Ignore other people's opinions about the content of the film. Anyone who is a fan of Bunuel, Surrealism, or revolutionary and historically important filmmaking will truly enjoy this film. Easily five stars, but because of Kino's terrible transfer (which granted is not too bad considering the age of the original film), terrible sound...trust me, just terribly substandard everything. From the packaging to the pathetic special features this a total slap in the face to all real film collectors. The only special feature is a "commentary" by some monotone, nasal british film historian who recites nothing that you haven't heard a thousand times from other sources. Also, considering this is only a 62 minute film it is unacceptable that he goes for long stretches (upwards of 12 minutes in some cases) without saying a single thing. I'd estimate that he talks for a total of maybe 14-20 minutes on the "commentary" track. Absolutely horrid. The other sole "special feature" is also an utter failure, the Bunuel filmography is innacurate... how can you possibly mess something so simple up? Ask Kino...
At 23 dollars I cannot possibly recommend this, rather save your money and buy the recent Region 2 release by the British Film Institute which has Un Chien Andalou and L'age D'or together for a better price, with much better picture/sound and extras. Shame on you Kino..."
Again: No, NOT just for arty types....
nom-de-nick | United States | 12/17/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"L'Age D'or is one of the supreme surrealist films, but it's actually surprisingly accessible for Bunuel. In fact, one of his most accessible. That's not to say that you don't have to work a little, but far, far less that you would for, say, Brakhage or even some Fellini.
The film actually works on several levels, many of which offer Bunuel's often biting commentary on various aspects of life, including the blind acceptance of organized religion (for which the film was banned by the Catholic church for decades, and Bunuel was excommunicated), love and sex, human tolerance, class distinction (short but brilliant), and more. To be honest, to describe the various areas of the film is to pretty much ruin it for anyone who's never seen it. It's really best going in totally unexpectant. Again, though, remember that it's not going to unfold in a logical pattern, and will likely require a few watchings to catch it all. It's just that kind of film. In addition, the things that were absolutely appalling then may not be so much so today, or at least not to the same degree.
Still, it's a genuine work of genius, done for far, far, far many more reasons than just to stir things up. (And hopefully Amazon won't pull my review again because I dared to offer a contradicting opinion to someone else)
Absolutely a must-see for serious film-lovers, and probably a must-own, too. It's a serious work of art and nothing about it -- nothing -- is random. Oh... to clarify one thing: Yes, the film opens with a French documentary on scorpions. But as the narrator notes, the scorpion's tail has five segments, the last one containing the sting. L'Age D'or also has five segments; and the last one most definitely contains the sting."
Where's Criterion When You Need Them?
K. Garner | the midwest | 01/27/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Bunuel's first feature "L'Age d'Or" provoked such a fierce reaction among the Right that it was almost immediately banned by the French authorities after its release and not shown for another 50 years (it was finally allowed to play in Paris again in 1980). Suffice it to say, when you see it, you'll understand why: especially the final sequence.
While it is wonderful to have this landmark film finally available on DVD (as well as "Un Chien Andalou" in a separate release), I'm rather saddened by the lack of restorative effort here. The film has the visual and aural quality of the old 16mm prints I saw 15 years ago and there's virtually no extras worth mentioning. By all means get this release if only because it may not come out in any other format here in the US (and some of us can't afford a code-free DVD to buy the BFI version) but it would be nice if the rights holders would lease these films to Criterion to create a: "Bunuel: The Early Years" disc."
Buñuel & Dali Persecuted for Surreal Subconscious Trip...
Kim Anehall | Chicago, IL USA | 06/24/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"In the second film that Luis Buñuel and Salvador Dalí collaborated on, they accomplished the infamous L'Age D'or, and this after they stirred the world of art and politics with their Un Chien Andalou a year before. This second film was about to exercise a full out assault on the established guidelines of society through irrational thoughts leading the audience to question their own ideas of society. However, in order to provide more detail to this notion one should know that surrealism grew out of Dadaism, which was a consequence of war. In the beginning of the 20th century, Tristan Tzara, the father of Dada, expressed himself that a world that can create war machines not worthy of art. Thus, he decided to generate an anti-art of ugliness against the up and coming industrial bourgeoisie, but instead of offending the new upper-class they embraced his new art. They felt that the Dadaism was attacking old traditions of feudalism and Christian dominance.
Surrealism is an expansion of Dadaism that grew out from the notions of the French doctor Andre Breton, who had fought at the trenches of World War I. Breton had studied the works of both Carl Jung and Sigmund Freud. Through his studies a heavy interest grew with the notion of the unconscious and its functions. Later, Dali developed his own unique technique to capture his unconsciousness onto the permanent medium of the canvas. Buñuel who also was interested in the subconscious did not have the talent of writing, painting, or music, which left him with the new coming art form of cinema. And he truly became one of the masters of cinema, whose films can still provide much pondering and pleasure.
Upon the release of the film the Board of Censors would not have released this film with a screening permit, if it was not for the ingenuity of the artists to call it madman's dream. The film received both appraisal and hatred, as some considered it pornographic and despicable while others found it to be a refreshing touch of reality in the 1930s. It was the bizarre content of the film that raised so much debate, even violence. The pinnacle of controversy came when the League of Patriots, a fascist organization, began to throw purple ink on the screen in the middle of the screening. These fascist thugs continued to vandalize the theater and cut apart artistic pieces by Dali, Man Ray, Joan Miró, and Yves Tanguy. Through several legal issues that came about from L'Age D'or, it was unfortunate that they removed the film from public screenings, and it was not until 1979 that the film received its first legal screening in the United States. Despite the outcome of withdrawing the film, Buñuel and Dalí created a surviving cinematic epitome of cerebral rebellion on societal prejudice bestowed to those who rule.
The film itself offers a peculiarly intriguing journey of the growth of a city, Rome, but in the light of surrealism. The narrative does not follow conventional methods, as it displays notions and concepts through a number of bizarre artistic scenes. The opening of the film displays scorpions while the audience is thoroughly enlightened of its anatomy and how territorial these arachnoids are against same and other spices. Maybe this is a subconscious hint of mankind's way of bordering themselves within countries, companies, and groups. Nonetheless, the scorpion sequence unexpectedly jumps to a scene with some bandits and papal characters, which eventually leads a strange scene with immigrants that claims the ground for the birth of Rome and the Vatican. Within the conquest like society Buñuel creates a society governed by rules of moral conduct and other appointed positions. This society receives an intricate dissection through a love affair between a man (Gaston Modot) and a young woman (Lya Lys) that ventures through scenes with a cow in the bed and toe sucking.
L'Age D'or does not provide any reason with its surreal imagery, yet there is something very familiar in each scene. This familiarity generates a link between the thoughts that the audience experiences. However, the imagery remains disconnected and dreamlike. One cannot help to think that Buñuel found a key to unlock the subconscious within the audience, as he playful juggles images of Christ and Marquis de Sade. There is nothing in the story that connects each scene, but the audience will make the deduction themselves and find a mutual connection from which they will derive the controversial material. This is a step away from Buñuel and Dali's previous film Un Chien Andalou where nothing was supposed to reveal anything in regards to rational thought. In the light of their second film, one should take a couple of steps back and reflect upon the power of the brain and cinema whilst one could feed the brain with thoughtless imagery of cinematic vacuity."