In "The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie," the dinner guests' refined manners are parodied by continual interruptions--an ostrich wanders through, the guests find themselves on a stage in front of a live audience and cannot remember their lines, a couple acts on their passion and has sex on the dinner table. In the end, dinner never gets eaten.

Stark in their conclusions, Buñuel's films are often humorous glimpses of our resilience in spite of society's efforts to repress us with the sheer weight of moral tradition.

There's no doubt Bunuel could be irreverent--in a an uproarious scene from "Simon of the Desert" (1965), his film about the temptations of the desert monk Simeon Stylites, crowds of spectators gather to rate Simon's miracles--but there is nothing essentially anti-Christian about his movies. Instead, Bunuel challenges us to be true to ourselves and to throw off the artificial yolks imposed on us by tradition for tradition's own sake.


Join the Discussion
comments powered by Disqus