Adult Movies II

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Film Review by Dean Duncan Aug 14, 2014

As remembered, Viridiana is a completely convincing, quite terrifying portrait of corruption. A re-viewing raises the question as to whether it’s also plain corrupt. Writer/director Luis Buñuel claimed Quijote parallels, and you can definitely see them. For instance, Viridiana subscribes and adheres to the highest, noblest standards, not seeming to understand or even conceive of the fact that no one else is capable, no one else is interested. (It’s not a coincidence that Jesus’ place in this film’s infamously blasphemous Last Supper shot is filled by a blind man, nor that the bride—notice the Advent that the source music proclaims—is actually a leper.) Buñuel also admired Jesus—qua Nazarin (1959)—and he definitely has some considerable regard for his sincerely, deeply virtuous main character.

And it’s not like Christianity has been utterly without fault. Not only are there inconsistencies, but hypocrisies too, even impossibilities. Very fair, and quite well illustrated here. Furthermore, on the affirmative side, Buñuel’s beggars are full of life, full of the life force. He points out that instinct and appetite will prevail over guilty circumscription, and clearly finds them to be more healthy than guilty circumspection.

Maybe, and even probably. But these beggars are not just trespassing on aristocratic estates and disrupting bourgeois banquets. (Cross-reference! You’re not going to believe this: They’re raping nuns! It’s a tribute to the director’s artistry, and maybe to his villainy—I’m a decades-long fan, mind you—that that little card game at the film’s conclusion registers as an even more terrible violation. His surehandedness is literally awesome. But in the service of what? That dog, tied to that axle…