Compare Offers on Amazon
+ CDN$ 3.49 shipping
The Phantom of Liberty (Criterion Collection) (Version française)
Today Only: "Amazon Exclusive: The James Bond Collection + Spectre" for $119.99 (60% Off)
For one day only: "Amazon Exclusive: The James Bond Collection + Spectre" is at a one day special price. Offer valid on February 9, 2016, applies only to purchases of products sold by Amazon.ca, and does not apply to products sold by third-party merchants and other sellers through the Amazon.ca site. Learn more.
Any serious lover of film eventually (if not immediately) succumbs to the genius of Luis Bunuel. The bottomless wit and unsentimental clear-sightedness of the Spanish master is evident throughout his career, but Bunuel has the added bonus of never tapering off, never losing his edge. The Phantom of Liberty was produced when Bunuel was in his mid-70s, and it's as hilariously impertinent as anything he ever made. Along with his (and anybody's) key collaborator Jean-Claude Carriere, Bunuel strings together a series of reverse-logic dreams and surrealist blackouts, which flow from one to another without building into anything like a conventional storyline.
A nurse at an inn is sidetracked by a foursome of poker-playing priests, while an S&M couple down the hall invite everyone to their room for a drink and a show; a sit-down party has guests seated on toilets around a table; a police commissioner receives a phone call from his dead sister. None of it makes sense, except that it makes absolute sense. By the time a little girl is reported missing by her frantic parents, despite the fact that she is manifestly with them in schoolroom and police station, the film has entered the zone where comedy and unnerving observations come together in a perfect way. Many top European actors participate in this exercise, including Michel Piccoli, Monica Vitti, Jean Rochefort, and Jean-Claude Brialy. Perhaps the format limits the film from gaining the resonance of latter Bunuel films such as The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie or That Obscure Object of Desire, but it's a marvelous surrealist variety show. --Robert Horton
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
There is no plot to speak of in PHANTOM: this film is basically a collection of surrealist sketches that finds Buñuel playing with all kinds of different ideas and different images. Monks pray for a woman's sick father, and then play poker with the woman and smoke. A group of people sit around a dinner table on toilets, and go to the bathroom to eat in private. Two parents desperately try to find their missing daughter---even though she's right there in class when they call her name. In the universe Buñuel concocts in THE PHANTOM OF LIBERTY, anything goes.
The amazing thing about this movie is that, instead of seeming like an irrational series of surrealistic sketches, THE PHANTOM OF LIBERTY has a broad theme to support its free-form structure: it's Buñuel's comic vision of freedom run amuck. Sure, the idea of liberty is appealing to everyone...but, as Buñuel seems to be suggesting, even freedom has its limits. The opening scene of the movie is set in Toledo, Spain in 1808, as Napoleon's troops attempt to liberate the Spanish and are greeted with cries of "Down with liberty!" There can be times when we want the assurance of authority, rather than the freedom to act in whatever way we please.
Buñuel doesn't take a stand one way or the other, really; he's just an artist who is intrigued by the idea, and his interest fuels the free-form structure of the film, and its content. Almost anything and everything he can think of---within the bounds, I suppose, of the same themes he covered throughout his long and illustrious film career---is thrown into this movie, and while some viewers may perhaps prefer the comfort of a movie with some structure, I found its elegant chaos exhilarating.
Only a master filmmaker who had absolute confidence in what he was doing would dare make a movie like this. I think Buñuel pulls it off triumphantly here; somehow, he makes the movie seem almost logical, the way it progresses. THE PHANTOM OF LIBERTY is a sheer delight. Highly recommended.
Look for similar items by category
- Movies & TV > Art House & International > By Country > France
- Movies & TV > Art House & International > By Country > Italy
- Movies & TV > Art House & International > By Genre > Comedy
- Movies & TV > Art House & International > By Original Language > French
- Movies & TV > Comedy > Black Comedy
- Movies & TV > Comedy > Satire
- Movies & TV > En français > Comédie > Comédies satiriques
- Movies & TV > En français > Enfants, Jeunesse et Famille > Films > Comédie