on 25 January 2007
Nicely packaged, and on good prints, this bargain box set of Buñuel boasts documentaries and the theatrical trailer for each film, which is nice. The accompanying booklet is more about Catherine Deneuve than Buñuel, which is irritating, but the documentaries are more focused on the director, and provide interesting insights from Buñuel's cowriter, Jean-Claude Carrière.
Having found it really difficult to find Buñuel's later films at reasonable cost on DVD (the old box set was about the same price as this but only had his last three films), I reckon this is jolly good value for money for the discerning Buñuel enthusiast.
on 26 May 2008
Luis Bunuel is probably the most important figure in surrealist cinema history. Yet his spectacularly creepy early shorts (Un Chien Andalou, L'age d'Or), have often masked his reputation as a truly great director. Yes his surrealist, warped imagination was obvious, but often overlooked is his sublime direction of actors and camera work. And this box-set contains irrefutable evidence of Bunuel's genius.
Top of the tree, no question is 'Belle De Jour', for me one of the finest films ever made. The wonderful Catherine Deneuve stars as Severine, a frigid house wife, who fulfills her sexual desires by working in a brothel. She soon attracts the charms of a seedy, flamboyant gangster, whose obsession with her threatens disaster. In spite of the subject, this is tasteful stuff. Everything is implied not shown, and the film simply puts on screen the everyday fantasies we all have. Oh, and Belle De Jour also sports one of the greatest endings ever seen (you'll see).
There are plenty of other gems here as well. 'The discreet Charm of the Buorgeoisie', is for many, Bunuel's masterpiece (I'll except that). A trio of couples attempt to sit down and have a meal, only to be interrupted at every turn. These interruptions can be in the form of anything; a corpse, a coup d'etat, or in one hilarious scene, a stage play (for the love of Christ, don't ask!).
Also, 'The phantom of liberty', 'Tristana' and 'That obscure object of desire', are all worth watching over and over again. Even the misses such as 'Milky Way' are worth at least one watch for the bizarre images alone.
Bunuel's crazy world will sweep you up, spin you round and leave you in a dizzy heap on the floor. And thankfully, Bunuel never explained his work, leaving the viewer free to make his/her own mind up.
There's little doubt in my mind that Luis Bunuel was a fruit. But on the evidence here, he was also one of the world's greatest ever directors.
on 16 March 2012
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')
on 20 July 2011
Unlike other European directors (Antonioni, Renoir, Godard), Bunuel's films were increasing in quality towards the end. 'That Obscure Object...' and 'Discreet Charm...' are worth the price alone. 'Belle De Jour' is the ultimate 'fantasy' film. 'The Phantom of Liberty' is rewarding with multiple showings. 'Tristana' and 'Diary...' are more formulaic in narrative, but no less complex in theme. 'The Young One' and 'The Milky Way' are more difficult, but 'The Milky Way' especially, is a film that rewards the patient viewer. 'The Milky Way' is probably the definition of an anti-religion film. Bunuel was an extremely mischievious director whose humour was perhaps an acquired taste, but ultimately his films are as addictive as any other director's working in Europe in the 60s and 70s.
on 26 March 2010
A marvelous group of films from one of the masters of the art. Sociologists and psychologists attempt to explain human behaviour using scientific logic; Bunuel short-circuits reason. He jolts us into truer, richer insights. Not for everyone.
on 27 April 2007
NOTE 18/5/11: I've since added full reviews for some of these movies to the comments section.
CET OBSCUR OBJET DU DESIRE - Amusing film about a man's obsession with/lust for a woman (played by two actresses). Very similar to Tristana (also in this box set) but better as it doesn't drag so much through its running time. Not a great movie but still very good. (3 stars)
DISCREET CHARM OF THE BOURGEOISIE - His funniest film and probably his most surreal with a proper story. Upper/middle class couples keep trying to have dinner parties but keep getting interrupted (war breaks out, owner of the restaurant dies etc). Very memorable and one of my favourite films. (5 stars)
DIARY OF A CHAMBERMAID - Looks kind of dull but is surprisingly fresh feeling and entertaining. Similar country house setting as Gosford Park but filmed in crisp black and white, and with a shoe fetishist directing. Amazing he got some of this past the censors back then. I've watched this one quite a few times which is unusual for an art film (which is the polite term for films you suffer through once because it's supposed to be good for you). (5 stars)
PHANTOM OF LIBERTY - Like Monty Pythons sketch film The Meaning Of Life. It's very uneven in quality. Some of it's sublimely silly and funny (such as eating in the toilets and doing the toilet at the dinner table; filthy pornographic pictures of famous landmarks). Other bits are dull (the police classroom). (3 stars)
MILKY WAY - Unfunny and boring. A waste of time. Some interesting surrealism at the end but getting there is a chore. (1 star)
TRISTANA - A hypocrite becomes the guardian of a girl he lusts after. Starts great but goes on for far too long. Slight premise stretched beyond breaking point. (2 stars)
BELLE DE JOUR - His best film and a genuine masterpiece. A bored housewife decides to become a prostitute at a brothel. Sounds sleazy but it's not. It's tastefully done and has real aspirations to be a quality film. (5 stars)
on 8 May 2009
If you are a film gourmand, Luis Bunuel must be a high priority on your list. Although this set is not complete, because such milestones as the "Andaluzian Dog" and a few others are missing, still it is an almost comprehensive set to get to like Bunuel, or to relive your past thrills.
Beautifully packed, equipped with good notes and a fine study on Catherine Deneuve, I highly recommend it to those in search of 1960s and 1970s surrealistic modernism, chic, subtle eroticism and "epaté le bourgeois".
on 5 February 2014
This is a fantastic box. Maybe a bit more pricey than others. I think I ended up paying about 10 euros (8 quid) per film, which is the same as a cinema ticket, or even slightly less already nowadays.
Anyhow: the film are stunning! So original, crazy, surprising, mesmerizing.
on 18 September 2015
Note there are two versions of this box set, one with seven discs and one with eight discs (including Bunuel's The Young One, quite an unusual film in that it is made in USA in English and lacks any satirical or surrealistic qualities).
on 28 April 2014
I WAS ALWAYS INTERESTED IN THE SURREALIST MOVEMENT ESPECIALLY BUNUEL. I LIKED HIS WIT AND THE HIS STORIES DEVELOPED. THEY ARE VERY ENTERTAING'