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The Milky Way (Criterion Collection) (Bilingual) [Import]
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The first of what Luis Bunuel later proclaimed a trilogy (along with The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie and The Phantom of Liberty) about "the search for truth" The Milky Way (La voie lactee) daringly deconstructs contemporary and traditional views on Catholicism with ribald rambunctious surreality. Two French beggars present-day pilgrims en route to Spain's holy city of Santiago de Compostela serve as Bunuel's narrators for an anticlerical history of heresy told with absurdity and filled with images that rank among Bunuel's most memorable (stigmatic children crucified nuns) and hilarious (Jesus considering a good shave). A diabolically entertaining look at the mysteries of fanaticism The Milky Way remains a hotly debated work from cinema's greatest skeptic. System Requirements:Running Time: 105 Mins.Format: DVD MOVIE Genre: COMEDY Rating: NR UPC: 715515025126 Manufacturer No: CC1709DDVD
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but what makes Bunuel's argument so interesting is his avowed atheist stance. from his earliest movies on, he has ridiculed the folly of authoritarian ascension, seemingly maintaining full grasp of the beauty of the original that lies beneath the facade. he opens the door for the viewer, while demonstratively refusing to take the step through for himself. one can only wonder what motivations lay at the heart of an artist whose gifts produce such clarity.
Dir. Maestro Luis Bunuel
One of best movies that analyzes European Christianity and Catholicism with a Surrealistic microscope. Two allegorical pilgrims on there way to Santiago de Compostela from Paris see 2000 years of Orthodoxy through a series of unrelated vignettes dealing with heresies and anathemia. Blasphemy? Hardly. Sacreligous? Never!
Critical in a loving way? Of course. Get this movie. Pierre Clementi rules as the Destroying Angel!
Extras are minimal with 1 short documentry and 2 interviews, one with a critic who sounds like he didn't get it in the first place.
However, this Criterion DVD is packaged with the class that The Milky Way deserves. Subtitles default in English with overlapping text. Original language: French with a touch of Spanish and Mystical Latin. I see this movie as the natural sequel to Simon of the Desert.
Luis Bunuel, filmmaker, Surrealist Extraordinaire, we'll never see his kind again. Nope. Thank God for him!
Coincidence or not, you decide: the timing for the release of this movie and the Mother Theresa journal?!!!!!
The plot, if there is one, follows 2 tramps as they travel towards Spain, in a long debate on religion while panhandling, visiting prostitutes, or wondering about the meaning of it all. There are miracles just missed, spliced with images from history, and Bunuel's speculations. In one scene, a restauranteur is expounding how "God is in everything like liver is in this pate" and extolling Christian generosity only to turn the bums away in the rudest manner. There are so many scenes like that that stick in the memory and get the viewer to question, all the time conscious of the mystery that is life. It is profound, funny, and open to interpretation.
Recommended as a masterpiece of experimentation and intelligence by one of the greatest directors of the 20C.
If it doesn't happen right away, it eventually becomes clear that Luis Buñuel is master of cinema. Buñuel's style of filmmaking (specifically in this film) is very transparent in that you cannot recognize his authorship simply from the visual, it is more a matter of diegetic content. True transcendence and a degree of experimentation is achieved along the lines of narrative and the ideas that create this narrative. Style is kept to a minimum. With Buñuel, this is a good thing.
The milky way develops as the two main characters travel back and forth through time in a "linear" pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela. Yes, that sentence is supposed to sound that way. As stated before, Buñuel's uniqueness in this film is due to an experiment with narrative, not so much with cinema as a medium. Buñuel allows us to think in perhaps the more traditional terms of experiment with storytelling.
The milky way is a film that clearly expounds Buñuel's fine sense of humor. Buñuel has a humor that is truly unique, consequently yielding utterly unique works of cinema. It is a humor that is truly humanistic, irreverent as though it may be.
One particular scene that I truly enjoyed was when the two pilgrims are at a truly horrific/comedic presentation at an all girls school, where the young students mechanically recite reasons for ex-communion from the church to the very enthusiastic parents that sit around and listen. In a contiguous scene we see a band of revolutionaries executing the pope (played by Buñuel for further irony). When the gunshot is heard by the parents attending the meeting back at the school one of them asks bemused: "What was that?" one of the pilgrims replies "Oh... I was just imagining the pope being shot".
There are plenty of other examples of such exquisite comicality so particular to the mind of Buñuel (I might have slightly distorted the last scene in my retelling of it -it has been a while since I have seen the film).
The milky way is incredibly witty, exploring the absurd that makes us human. Buñuel's atheism is not to be misunderstood.
It is the atheism that comes hand in hand with reason for sure, but at the same time there is an understanding for the cultural value
of religion. It is clear that there has been great proximity to catholicism during his upbringing. And when you grow up surrounded
by ideas and images as those of most religions, and confront these to reason, you have no choice but to become a surrealist, after having
evidenced people choosing or made to believe in the absurd. At least it is something along these lines that we could get from Buñuel. Or so much more, or something completely different. He would have been amused.
It is a work of subtle cinema, yet the ideas set forth and played with in this film remain with you. Pacing is slow, but in a good way (just in case you were wondering).
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