This early movie is I guess some sort or artsie nonsence, as it has absolutly no story line, and at times it's not only weird, it plain psyco, with some occasional downright disturbing footage. I suppose there is a sort of barely discernable romantic theme, but it's not unlike a Dali concept as far as that is concerned. One can't help but scratch ones head after watching this movie, and wonder what the heck you were just wasting an hour on. The only reason I didn't give it a single star is simply because of the age and it's place in French History, whatever that might be. No doubt people at the time would have been hard pressed to even give it one star.
I've changed my mind. After seeing and rating other movies I give this one star...but I can't change the rating now...but can only "edit".
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86 of 92 people found the following review helpful
Again: No, NOT just for arty types....Dec 17 2004
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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.
29 of 30 people found the following review helpful
Where's Criterion When You Need Them?Jan. 27 2005
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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.
20 of 23 people found the following review helpful
Buñuel & Dali Persecuted for Surreal Subconscious Trip...June 23 2005
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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.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Buñuel, with characteristic perversity, intensified his attack on bourgeois sensibilities...Dec 16 2006
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Buñuel was one of the greatest of all filmmakers... He expressed a uniquely personal vision of the world through a remarkably self-effacing cinematic style, producing a body of work unparalleled in its wealth of meaning and its ability to provoke and disturb...
The film concerns a couple constantly frustrated by Church and Establishment niceties, as well as their own sexual guilt...
Such plot is structured according to the irrational dream-logic of fear and desire, starting with a 'documentary' on scorpions and working through a series of darkly comic, loosely connected scenes... The film climaxes in outrageous blasphemy, equating the meek figure of Christ with a participant in a murderous orgy in De Sade's 120 Days of Sodom... Unsurprisingly, the work was widely banned...
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
OutstandingJan. 10 2006
- Published on Amazon.com
Although L'Age D'Or is around three times as long as Bunuel and Dali's earlier film, Un Chien Andalou, I find this almost three times as entertaining as well. That's not to say Un Chien Andalou is boring either, L'Age D'Or is simply a brilliant work of cinematic surrealism. It wasn't nearly as provocative as I expected, except for a few scenes, but that isn't necessarily a bad thing. A must-see for those interested in surrealism and classic or cult cinema.
As for the actual dvd...I paid $25 for it, and although it was worth it, I feel Kino could have provided better packaging at the very least. Worth it either way, though.