67uk La Voie lactée by Luis Buñuel (1969, 98')
Everything in this film concerning the Catholic religion and the heresies it has provoked, especially from the dogmatic point of view, is rigorously exact. The texts and citations are taken either direct from Scripture, or modern and ancient works on theology and ecclesiastical history.
The above text comes at the end of the film, but there is no law against showing it at the beginning of a review. The crazy concept is most likely Buñuel's in origin, the scripting homework Carrière's. The 1969 film is directed by Luis Buñuel. It stars Laurent Terzieff, Paul Frankeur, Delphine Seyrig, Georges Marchal and Michel Piccoli, and many many more. Producer is Serge Silberman
Two drifters go on a pilgrimage from France to Santiago (Sant' Iago, or St James) de Compostela (campus stellis, or field of stars) in Spain and meet embodiments of various Catholic heresies along the way. The title of the film comes from the fact that the original name for the Milky Way is the Way of St. James, which directed pilgrims from northern Europe to Spain. Along the way, they hitchhike, beg for food, and face the Christian dogmas and heresies from different Ages.
The Milky Way plays with place and time, though in the present, so the duel between a jesuit and a jansenist on religious dogma somewhere in France (or is it Spain?), or scenes from the life of Jesus Christ, and are intended to show the absurdity of making absolute statements about such topics. In one revolutionary scene, the pope - Buñuel reserved this role for himself - gets executed by a firing squad, pointing at the period of terrorism following the 1968 upheaval (and also the subject of Buñuel's later films).
One of the most impressive episodes happens near the beginning and finds its fulfillment at the end of the film: As the two tramps walk along a roadside in France, they encounter a man in a black cape (a very apt Alain Cluny), who tells them to sleep with a prostitute and have children with her at the end of heir pilgrimage. When they look back at him, he has a midget by has hand and a white dove is flowing from his cape. So much about trinity ...
When the pilgrims eventually reach Santiago de Compostela, they meet a prostitute (a joyful and funny Delphine Seyrig) who wants to become pregnant and gives the same names for the children as those predicted by the man in the cape at the beginning of the film. Yet another variation of the Maria Magdalene (and hence the prostitution) motif, still a periodically highly debated subject in the church ...
16 March 2012 - 67uk La Voie lactée by Luis Buñuel (1969, 98')