Quick-Thoughts: Luis Buñuel’s L’Age d’Or (1930)

TIRED: Luis Buñuel is one of the greatest filmmakers during classic cinema.

WIRED: Luis Buñuel is one of the greatest animal connoisseurs during classic cinema.  

Spanish virtuoso Luis Buñuel, who is slowly becoming one of my all-time favorite directors, is often regarded as the king of surrealism, so it may come as no shock that his directorial debut for a feature-length exceeds the expectations of his title. If you’ve seen Buñuel’s infamously ludicrous short film, Un Chien Andalou, then you should know exactly what you’re getting into when you witness the insensitively brave, notably imaginative, and quite unpredictable L’Âge d’Or (Age of Gold). 

The point of Un Chien Andalou was that there was absolutely no point to it. The point of L’Âge d’Or, however, is actually something momentous this time around: to rub organized religion and societal order at that time in the wrong way, and it does it in the most creative manner possible. It’s chiefly a commentary on how these groups’ inclination for sexual oppression usually created ill-behavior in the hearts of its victims and, furthermore, confused them out of instinct. Buñuel also shoves clear and graphic jabs at the injustices that religious institutions and political corruption did to women during the time, as well, something that undoubtedly upset the Fascists of the era upon its release. Need I remind you, this movie came out during the 1930s! Cinematic experimentation and criticism towards the Church weren’t exactly condoned.

Either way, there are countless comparisons one could make to the essential premise of this movie, and that alone says wonders on what makes many of these surreal classics so esteemed. I mean, I could fabricate many reasons for why two people who just want to make love would be cock-blocked in the midst of a deceitful society. The state of the Church just so happens to be on the mind of Buñuel personally though, and he explains his takes on it through immersive visual components that you could never even cook up unless you were born into that early 1900s Catholic lifestyle like Buñuel factually was. From penetrative lectures on scorpions, to truckloads of startling violence, and to an edgy cameo by a Jesus-Christ-looking-individual; God, do I love this movie. 

I almost forgot to mention, L’Âge d’Or is a cynically funny movie too! Guess I now know where Monty Python got their humor from. Buñuel also never ceases to exemplify his obsession with large animals chilling inside of beautiful houses like it’s nothing odd. Respect, my dude. And, you can’t really go wrong when your movie features music from Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, especially when multiple folks are trying to command and control the lead characters. Emotions-will-be-storming! 

Verdict: A- 

Surrealism’s Inception (Ranked List)

“L’Âge d’Or” is now available to stream on Amazon Prime and The Criterion Channel.

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