Friday, October 22, 2021

Parasite film review (2019)

Synopsis: Kim Ki-woo lives on the edge of poverty with his family. They steal WiFi from their neighbors, work on minimum wage jobs and live in a basement apartment. Kim Ki-woo’s life changes when he gets an offer from his friend to work as an English tutor, because the friend was going to study abroad. The friend is infatuated with the girl and wants his friend to be around during his absence to avoid others being around his crush. The young man accepts the offer, changes his name to Kevin and starts tutoring Park Da-hye, who quickly falls in love with “Kevin”. Once among the Parks, Kevin develops a different plan:he wants to get his family into the Park family. Will he succeed to get his poor family into the Parks? If yes, will the Kims, the poor family, become as rich and privileged as the Parks?

Parasite, by Bong Joon Ho, is the film of the year. It won the Palme d’Or at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival. Apart from its numerous accolades, Parasite won 4 awards at the 92nd Academy Awards for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay and Best International Feature film. This is the first non-English language film to win Best Picture Award. It won the Best Foreign Language Film at the 77th Golden Globe Awards. It won the Best Film Not in the English Language and the Best Original Screenplay awards at the 73rd British Academy Film Awards.

A bell that rings right at the beginning of the film is there to verify if all the speakers of the theater function properly or not. The bell is there to be compared to the plurality of voices a society produces. Like the bell, there are many others symbols in this film that deserve to be studies closely.

The food in the film often symbolizes the same notion of “up and down”. The noodles, the cheaper food, are made for Kim family, while the beef, the expensive one, is for the Parks. The rain in the film plays the same role as the food. It emphasizes the opposite perceptions that individuals from two different social classes have about the same thing and how that same thing influences them differently.

Water symbolizes the reality and the stone symbolizes false hopes. Water always goes down and not up and can damage those who live “down”, the poor. This was the case when the strong rain came and damage the Kims’ house.

Parasite foreshadowing: the scene, where the fumigation happens, the daughter attempts to close the window, but the father tells not to, because it is a “free extermination”. Everyone starts coughing, except from the father. During another occasion, the daughter says that she fit in well with the Parks, but ironically she is the first to die. When it comes to the father, he is the only one to continue his life in the basement, just like he was the only one, who was not afraid of the smoke. When it comes to the Indian theme, it is a foreshadowing for the fate of the Parks family.

Bong Joon-ho doesn’t portray the rich as villains neither the poor as victims. The borderline between the bad and the good is opaque: we do not know for which character we should cultivate the most empathy. Deep down, they may all have the same insecurities and worldviews with very slight differences…apart from the smell…, because “they all smell the same” according to the Parks. Is it because of the subway, or the soap they use, or the basement smell? It is just a metaphor: the smell symbolizes the poor. By the way, during birthday festivities, the father of the Parks family is killed by the father of the Kims’ family following his disgust towards the smell of their first housekeeper’s husband.

The “disgusting” smell of the poor.

One of the highly used symbols is the concept of “up and down” or “high and low” for class representation. Parks’ house is located at the highest point of the town. The upper-class family of Parks rarely looks down on the floor. They always look forward or up, which means that their house’s employees hide easily under their tables, in the ground-floor or elsewhere if/when they feel that hiding is necessary. The notion of “parasite” is recurrent and questions what exactly it means. Who exactly is “parasite”: the poor or the rich. Are there any parasites? What if everybody are parasites?

One of the most important points of this film is the fact that people fight against each other. Even those, who are down, fight mercilessly for keeping their place in the Parks’s house even if it means living in the basement. They lack a lot of solidarity.

Parks’ son has an obsession with native Americans. For his birthday, the native American theme is highly used. It represents a surprise: just like the Kims, who discover that there is a family living right in the basement of the Parks’ house, the Europeans had discovered that there were native Americans living in the newly discovered continent. In both cases the result was the war and/or the fight. Moreover, during the festivities, Kim Ki-woo checks if the other family’s father is in the basement taking the stone, which was given to him by his friend as a symbol of success, symbolizing the hope for a better future, with him. That stone is only used to smash someone’s head and never brings success.

The closing scene shows Kim Ki-woo. In his letter to his father, Kim Ki-woo says that he will work until he could afford to buy the mansion and adds:”All you’ll need to do is to walk up the stairs”. This expression summarizes the myth of social mobility and supports social determinism…or is it?

Bombshell film review (2019)

Synopsis: Gretchen is fired and files a lawsuit for sexual harassment against her boss. A lot of colleagues and close people support the boss, but not her. Will she succeed?

The film is based on real-life facts and stars Charlize Theron, Nicole Kidman and Margot Robbie. Gretchen’s case is of the most talked-about sexual harassment bombshells of the 21st century. When numerous allegations against Roger Ailes went public, he handed in his resignation. A lawsuit changed everything: a powerful media titan of the television was brought down. Roger Ailes was accused of harassing Gretchen, one of the on-air stars. Nothing like this had ever happened at Fox News before Gretchen’s lawsuit.

Roger Ailes had created everything at Fox News and was behind all the major successes Fox News was enjoying as a media company. Roger Ailes had also created a signature look: the dresses were tighter, the skirts were shorter than at other media companies. Women’s legs are always highly visible.

In Gretchen Carlson’s complaint, she says that Roger Ailes harassed her during their one-to-one meetings:”I think you and I should have had a sexual relationship a long time ago…sometimes problems are easier to solve”. When Gretchen rejected his advances, Roger started sabotaging her career. Gretchen decided to fight for her rights and filed a lawsuit. A lot of colleagues and close people started supporting Roger both on social media and on TV. This backed their boss and gave some more credibility to him…but this lasts only until Megyn Kelly, the highest-profile female anchor at Fox News, announced that she had also been harassed by Roger Ailes.

Without Gretchen filing a lawsuit, Roger Ailes would still be the chairman of Fox News. Everything happened within 2 weeks only and Roger was locked out of the company. 20 million $ and a public apology is what Gretchen got out of this bombshell. The public apology said:”We sincerely regret that Gretchen was not treated with the respect and dignity that she and all of our colleagues deserve”.

“Shoplifters” film review (2018)

Synopsis: Loving and showing it those we love are two different things. Love come from inside and is natural, but the way we show it to others is important, because if one is clumsy and/or violent the love he/she feels may turn it into a destructive weapon. “Shoplifters” proves it.

This film is about relationships that have been developed between those are have been pushed to the margins of the society. They all are a little bit forgotten and neglected by the wider society. Thrown out of the active society this group of people acts as a real functioning social element, but has a lot of issues when it comes to values and a healthy vision of world.

The film opens on a father and son shoplifting in a grocery store. They have got each other’s back and they are giving each other signals to steal food for the dinner. On their way home, they spot a young little girl out in the cold, who is cold and looks miserable. The father and his son invite the girl to their house. The little girl comes out of her house and goes with them. Once the burden of negligence and abuse against this girl become evident, the family decides to secretly adopt her. The family lives on the edge of poverty and they occasionally do minimum-wage jobs.


Hatsue Shibata, played by Kirin Kiki, is an elderly woman, whose son is Osamu Shibata, played by Lily Franky. Nobuyo Shibata, played by Sakura Ando, is Osamu’s wife. Aki Shibata, played by Mayu Matsuoka, is unrelated to Osamu and Nobuyo, but is the grandchild of Hatsue. Aki makes some money working in a striptease club and seems to want to move on to something else. The other child is Shota Shibata, played by Kairi Jō, who commits the most shoplifting for eating and selling for cash. The heart is the film is about the messiness of motivations, choices, character’s individual lives, faults and how these elements impact the whole family and those surrounding them. Yuri Hojo/Juri/Rin, played by Miyu Sasaki, is regularly left outside at night. The family decides to keep Yuri with them, because she is very often abused outside. Keeping Yuri is dangerous, becuase the authorities can qualify it as a kidnapping, but Nobuyo and Osamu think that it is not dangerous as long as they do not ask for a ransom. Osamu also thinks that stealing is OK if one doesn’t steal someone else’s property or steals items from a shop that doesn’t yet go bankrupt. This shows very well the clumsiness towards responsibilities that any individual should respect.

Family’s motivations are an inspiration to think about the social aspects of notions like poverty, violence, system of values etc. We are brought to think about humans who are thrown out to the outskirts of the society and form a semi-independently evolving micro-society with its own ways and views. This family does everything in its own clumsy way and which is directly caused by the conditions in which they live, but also by their system of values and priorities. For example, we see the family dining together in a very small room while their grandmother is cutting her toenails right in front of the table. She then throws her toenails right near the entryway. In parallel with this, all the family members are being attentive to their new family member, Yuri, and they discover while dining, that her body is covered by scars and bruises and the grandmother suggests that more attention is needed towards her. This scene shown perfectly the mix of clumsiness and love that this family represents.

In another scene, on the beach, the grandma Hatsue and Aki are looking at their family playing with the waves and being affectionate to each other. This is another scene where we see the love and the compassion they have for each other. Aki shares her ideas saying that she thinks that:”sometimes it is good to choose your family”. Hatsue looks at Aki and tells her:”Lady, when I look closely, you’re a good-looking woman”. When Aki moves on to join others playing with the waves, Hatsue looks at her legs and says:”Oh, look at all the age spots”, and stars covering them little by little by putting some sand on them. Then, Hatsue looks at her joyful family and whispers “Thank you” several times without them noticing her saying it.

Hatsue visits her husband’s son from his second marriage. This son regularly sends some money to Hatsue. The son and his wife are Aki’s biological parents and believe that Aki lives in Australia. Hatsue dies at home while sleeping and the family buries her without reporting anything to Hatsue’s son in order to continue receiving his money. This is a choice that shows the unusual values of the family. Additionally, when the father is asked if he is not ashamed to teach children shoplifting, he answers: “I don’y know anything else to teach them”. The father reproduces and teaches others to reproduce the social violence that he has been undergoing. When trying to understand “why” they do such things, it is vital to question the social conditioning that this family underwent as a whole.

The plot often questions the notions of “parent” and “parenting”. Giving birth to someone doesn’t make one a parent if the child is protected and cared for by someone else. Aki and Yuri share this particularity, because they both are cared for by someone else. The family doesn’t survive in its actual form and mainly because of its values and motivations. Shota is places in an orphanage, Nobuyo takes the blame and in jailed, the grandmother is dead and Yuri, the little girl, is returned to his biological family.

SWALLOW film review (2019)

Synopsis: Hunter and Richie seem to enjoy they life together as a newly married couple. Richie comes from a well-off family and has just received the most important post in his family’s business. But, once Hunter gets pregnant, she develops compulsive eating disorder, Pica. Pica is a disease characterized by an appetite for substances that are largely non-nutritive, such as ice, sharp objects, hair, chalk, stone and so on. Because of this disease Richie’s family decides to take control of Hunter’s behavior to make sure that Hunter will not jeopardize the fetus that she is caring under her belly. No character handles this situation indifferently. But what are the underlying reasons of Hunter’s disease?

Hunter preparing a dinner for her husband.

The Pica disease is a metaphor that symbolizes a woman’s suffering and fight against the patriarchy. Hunter’s smooth evolution from a nice-looking and innocent housewife to the trouble-causing and addictive social outcast puts the audiences on a comfortable chair and than transforms the chair into a chair of nails and keeps the audiences on it. Swallow is a feminist pamphlet that first shows how the patriarchy defines a female behavior and how it expects women to embody the submissive social role imposed on them by both psychological and economical violence.

The first object that she swallows.

The film has a ontological approach to the social conditions that shape the order and the roles both women and men are supposed to play. Any situation or behavior hindering the patriarchal order is being fought against. For example, Richie verbally attacks Hunter, when he discovers that Hunter enjoys swallowing objects, because he doesn’t want to understand her: he just wants a normal family and doesn’t even question the “why” of her behavior. When Hunter escapes from their home, Richie calls her to tell her to bring his baby back to him and doesn’t care much about the reasons why Hunter had escaped. In the beginning, both Hunter and Richie embody the socially constructed roles of a woman and a man. When dining, Richie is busy with responding to his business messages while Hunter is a little bit talkative about her daily impressions or casual goals. The patriarchal order wants people to implement meticulously precised roles and if one fails others fail too. The only fact that Hunter suffers from Pica causes problems both for Richie and his parents too. But, nobody cares about Hunter, everybody is taken out of their socially constructed roles and are just panicking and sometimes being unable to handle their emotions: Richie is panicking the most, whilst his father pays the doctors and the Syrian male nurse to “take care” of Hunter and all this is done in order to keep the broken train of patriarchy back to its rails. Richie’s mother’s behavior symbolizes the dehumanized woman who has not rebelled, but instead obeyed to the ready-do-apply rules and successfully earned her role in the artificial and human-denying patriarchal order. She would otherwise protect Hunter or at least she could have shown some compassion towards Hunter’s heart-breaking past.

Being a housewife.
She found a iron pin and swallows it.
These are some of the sharp objects Hunter had swallowed.

Swallow is a horror drama. The film explores all the layers of the patriarchal society in which we live and therefore any spectator could identify himself/herself with this or that character. In this sense, the approach is very universal and explores the toxic environment in which characters grew up and continue to evolve. No character is deeply negative neither positive and anybody’s behavior is causing something that will influence someone. These interwoven relationships are not 100% save because of the oppressive patriarchal system that makes the rules and imposes them on everyone.

The worst part of the story is the fact that Hunter had been raped, which probably played a negative impact during her pregnancy by generating the Pica disease and making her suffer even more. The patriarchal society wants her to be a loving wife and a caring mother, but her traumatic past and her present medical conditions don’t allow her to embody that artificial role without some supplementary pressure from her husband’s family. Swallow reveals the oppressive system many women suffer from, where the rules are ready-to-be-applied ignoring women’s natural independence and inalienable dignity.



The French have a name for the events leading up to a death by guillotine. They call it “the ceremony.” Although Claude Chabrol’s “La Ceremonie” (1995) contains no guillotines, there is a relentless feeling to it, as if the characters are engaged in a performance that can have only one outcome. It comes as a surprise to all of them, and to us. But given these people in this situation, can we really say in hindsight that we’re surprised?

Chabrol, a founding member of the French New Wave who died in September 2010 having made 54 features, is sometimes said to be influenced by Hitchcock, perhaps because many of his characters become involved in murder but few of them make it a profession. It often comes into their lives as the result of a psychological compulsion set in action by particular circumstances.

“Of course, murder always heightens the interest in a film,” he told me in 1971, at the New York Film Festival. “Even a banal situation takes on importance when there’s a murder involved. I suppose that’s why I choose to work with murder so often. That’s the area of human activity where the choices are most crucial and have the greatest consequences. On the other hand, I’m not at all interested in who-done-its. If you conceal a character’s guilt, you imply that his guilt is the most important thing about him. I want the audience to know who the murderer is, so that we can consider his personality.”

That leads to the question: Does he let us know who will commit murder(s) in “La Ceremonie?” I think he does, although there will be some in the audience who are surprised that anyone in the film is killed. Assuming that some must die (this is a film by Chabrol, after all), it is obvious who they must be. That’s why I won’t issue a spoiler warning: This isn’t a who-done-it. It’s more about how the two murderers do something together that neither would be capable of doing by themselves.

So “La Ceremonie” is about murder. It is also about faces, two in particular. They belong to Isabelle Huppert, as Jeanne, the rude postmistress in a small French town, and Sandrine Bonnaire, as Sophie, a young women who comes to the town seeking work as a maid. In these roles they share a facial quality both often display: They have an almost maddening secrecy. There is also a difference: Jeanne seems all-knowing, cocky, dominant. Sophie, submissive, grateful for attention, doesn’t seem very bright. When she’s told something, she has a way of turning her head slowly and letting it sink in before reacting. The film consistently plants hints of a secret Sophie conceals — a handicap I will not reveal — that indicates that her ability to hold a job indicates she has a gift for deception.

Huppert, the busiest major actress of her generation, wears so well in so many different roles because she only reluctantly reveals a character’s feelings. She leaves it up to us to figure them out; there may be some play-acting involved, but we sense that most is hidden. Above all she’s ideal for characters with an enormous stubborn determination that she holds very much inside. Chabrol has used her seven times, most inevitably in the title role of “Madame Bovary.”

Bonnaire’s face can be equally concealing, but she is better at seeming vulnerable. Her great early role was in Agnes Varda’s “Vagabond” (1985), the story of a young office worker who walks away from her job and sets off optimistically to backpack around French. When he’s found dead in a ditch some months later, we wonder why she continued to fall, and fall, when she had many opportunities to save herself. She will never tell us.

The film opens with a job interview. She meets with a wealthy bourgeois wife named Catherine Lelievre (the bilingual Jacqueline Bisset) in a cafe. They have tea. Catherine explains that she lives in an isolated house in the country, with her husband Georges (Jean-Pierre Cassel) and their son Gilles (Valentin Merlet). Melinda (Virginie Ledoyen), his daughter by an earlier marriage, sometimes comes to visit. They require a live-in maid and cook. All very well with Sophie, who takes command of the interview with almost imperious self-confidence. She has her papers, her letter of reference, her salary requirement. An isolated house is no problem. At the end of their conversation, it’s almost as if Sophie dismisses Catherine.

We see the large, luxurious country estate. Its stone walls contain a service wing, so that family and servants live privately. Everyone gets along at first. In contrast to her manner in the cafe, Sophie seems quiet and submissive here, performing her tasks and then going to her room. There she seems a different person, a naive adolescent, sitting on the floor, leaning against the bed, hypnotized by whatever happens to be on TV.

One day she accompanies Georges into the village, where she meets the postmistress, Jeanne. Huppert seems instinctively to sniff out some quality in Sophie that puts her on alert. She contrives opportunities for them to meet, She is hungry for gossip about the Lelievre family. She has class-conscious scorn for their comfortable lifestyle. She especially believes Madame Lelievre is stuck up and insufferable.

We are watching a seduction. Despite our expectations that lesbianism is possible, it isn’t sexual, but has to do with power. Jeanne senses a weakness in Sophie, a secret, and perhaps believes she can make the other young woman her instrument — to do what, remains to be seen. With nothing in particular in mind, Jeanne knows she will be able to control Sophie in a mutual action. Jeanne drives out to the house frequently, and they meet in Sophie’s room, sneaking up the back stairs, devouring TV programs; when the Lelievres discover her in the house, Georges explodes. Earlier, he accused her of opening his mail. Now he forbids them to see one another. Jeanne’s eyes narrow. Georges has taken a fatal step.

Earlier in the film, Georges discovered alarming background details about both women. Earlier, in other towns, they were touched by two deaths — Sophie’s father, and Jeanne’s young daughter. There is no particular reason to believe either women was responsible for these deaths, but Georges’ research into provincial newspapers indicates there was a certain amount of suspicion. Well, are they murderers? Chabrol never declares himself, and that sets up one of the most disturbing scenes in the movie. Giggling like schoolgirls with a crush, the two tease each other that they know the other’s secret, and the secret is murder. Neither denies it. We suspect one, maybe both, are innocent. By passively allowing such things to be said about them, they create a titillating tension in the relationship. We begin to understand that regardless of whether either has committed murder, together they are certainly capable of it.

Chabrol is at home in the world of the wealthy, and does an effortless job of showing the Lelievre family, confident, affectionate, dining in style, appreciating fine wines, lining themselves up all four on a sofa to watch an opera by Mozart on TV. This is a contrast to the two young working-class women upstairs, whose relationship and the TV they watch is attuned to Sophie’s simplistic mind. Assuming Jeanne is much smarter than Sophie, what we see taking shape is an act of resentful violence, in which the childlike maid is the murder weapon. The film implacably moves toward a horrifying conclusion.

David Lynch


David Lynch (American, b.1946) is best known as a prolific modern filmmaker. However, his work stretches out into the world of television, music, painting, and many other forms of art. His style is often characterized as surrealist, and he has even been branded with his own style, called Lynchian Style. Lynch was born in Missoula, MT, and moved around from place to place until he landed in Philadelphia, PA, where he enrolled in the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts.

After a stint in Philadelphia, he moved to Los Angeles, CA, where he launched his film career. While working at the AFI Conservatory, Lynch created his first motion picture, Eraserhead (1977), a black-and-white surrealist horror film. The film was not acclaimed by critics, but it has held a strong cult following since its release. It wasn”t until the film The Elephant Man (1980) that Lynch received his first real taste of critical and commercial success. The film received eight Academy Award nominations, including Best Director. More importantly, Lynch became a household name, whose art has reached millions of viewers. Along with several feature films, Lynch has created many short films, several television series, and even some music videos.

Although most commonly known for his films, Lynch initially studied to be a painter. Lynch’s painting is characterized by its absence of color. He believes that black is a liberating factor and uses it to make his works become more dreamlike. In 2007, a major art retrospective on Lynch, The Air is on Fire, was displayed at the Fondation Cartier in Paris. This exhibition contained paintings, photographs, drawings, and other work, including site-specific installations.

Catherine Deneuve


Catherine Deneuve, original name Catherine Dorléac, (born October 22, 1943, Paris, France), French actress noted for her archetypal Gallic beauty as well as for her roles in films by some of the world’s greatest directors.

Deneuve was the third of four daughters born to the French actors Maurice Dorléac and Renée Deneuve. She landed a small role in the 1957 film Les Collégiennes (The Twilight Girls) and began her film career in earnest in 1960 with an appearance in Les Petits Chats (“The Little Cats,” released in English as Wild Roots of Love). She became an international star with her acclaimed performance in director Jacques Demy’s romantic classic Les Parapluies de Cherbourg (1964; The Umbrellas of Cherbourg).

During the 1960s and ’70s, Deneuve was in great demand by several of the world’s leading directors, such as Roman Polanski (Repulsion, 1965) and Terence Young (Mayerling, 1968). She worked for Luis Buñuel on the highly acclaimed French-Italian coproduction Belle de jour (1967) and the equally acclaimed French-Italian-Spanish coproduction Tristana (1970). She appeared sporadically in American films, perhaps most memorably in The April Fools (1969) with Jack Lemmon and in Hustle(1975) with Burt Reynolds.

Despite her international résumé, most of Deneuve’s films were made in France. She worked with François Truffaut in La Sirène du Mississippi (1969; Mississippi Mermaid) and Le Dernier Métro (1980;The Last Metro) and also appeared in Demy’s Peau d’éâne (1970; Donkey Skin), Jean-Pierre Melville’s Un Flic (1971; Dirty Money), and Claude Berri’s Je vous aime (1980; I Love You All).

Her films of the 1990s included Indochine (1992), for which she received an Academy Awardnomination for best actress, and O convento (1995; The Convent), which was directed by acclaimed Portuguese filmmaker Manoel de Oliveira. Deneuve enjoyed the film Breaking the Waves (1996) so much that she asked its director, Lars von Trier, for a part in one of his films. The result was her supporting role as a factory worker and confidant to the lead character (played by Björk) in Dancer in the Dark (2000).

Among her notable work in the early 21st century was a bravura performance at the head of a star-studded cast in François Ozon’s 8 Femmes (2002; 8 Women) and smaller roles in Oliveira’s Je rentre à la maison (2001; I’m Going Home) and Une Filme falado (2003; A Talking Picture). She later reteamed with Ozon for the farcical comedy Potiche (2010). Deneuve starred as a woman who embarks upon a road trip after a love affair dissolves in Elle s’en va (2013; On My Way) and evinced incipient mental illness in Dans la cour (2014; In the Couryard). She played a casino owner whose daughter disappears amid an attempted takeover of her business in the true-crime thriller L’Homme qu’on aimait trop(2014; In the Name of My Daughter). La Tête haute (2015; Standing Tall) featured Deneuve as a family court judge attempting to steer a juvenile delinquent away from self-destruction. Her films from 2017 included Sage femme (The Midwife), in which she played a hard-living gambler with brain cancer.

In addition to the fame she accrued for her beauty and talent, Deneuve also attracted attention for her relationships with director Roger Vadim and actor Marcello Mastroianni. Both relationships produced children, including actress Chiara Mastroianni, with whom Deneuve performed in several films, including the Demy-inspired musical Les Bien-Aimés (2011; Beloved) and 3 Coeurs (2014; 3 Hearts). Deneuve’s older sister, Françoise Dorléac, was also a successful actress. The sisters appeared together in one film, Demy’s Les Demoiselles de Rochefort (1967; The Young Girls of Rochefort).

In 2018 Deneuve was the recipient of the Japan Art Association’s prestigious Praemium Imperialeprize for theatre/film.

Luis Buñuel


Luis Buñuel pioneered Surrealist cinema, becoming the filmmaker who most successfully achieved the movement’s goals of liberation from linear, logical narrative. Unlike many Surrealist films by other directors, such as Man Ray or Hans Richter, Buñuel is never “artsy” or stylized: there is an urgent, shocking, and visceral quality to his films – even at their most absurd moments. Buñuel went on to create harsh, unconventional realist films as well, but even in this mode his films contain startling juxtapositions of the real and the surreal. All of his major films, from Un Chien Andalou (1929) to That Obscure Object of Desire (1977), explore the torment and complexity of the human sexual need through uncompromising imagery. His films resist and criticize facile societal or religious solutions to the problems of human existence – his work at various times was derided with equal vehemence by the Catholic Church, Fascist Spain, and the Mexican Communist Party.

Key Ideas

Surrealism broke new ground in literature through the practice of automatic writing, and in painting, it achieved startling but static dream-like images. Buñuel realized that the medium of film could go beyond painting and actually portray the disjointed visual narratives of human dreams in action. His first two Surrealist films capture the absence of moral filtering, the lack of will and logic that characterize the oneiric (dreaming) state, as if Buñuel had managed to place his camera inside actual dreams and record them.
Buñuel’s images of violence or cruelty are very successful at assaulting the viewer’s complaisance, destroying comforting assumptions about existence and reality, and awakening the most basic and hidden fears lodged in the subconscious mind.
His films provoke not only intellectual and emotional responses, but powerfully affect the viewer physically through repellent images of insects, bodily waste, decaying carcasses, amputation, and other shocking desecrations of human body parts. They involve and interact with the viewer in a way that is the hallmark of postmodernist art (many, many years later).