When it comes to the films of Luis Bunuel, it’s very hard to get some sort of explanation across. The film is divided into two sections that cut into each other without any warning: the first deals with the members of the bourgeoisie, as they meet for different dinner engagements that often lead to absurd sex or run-ins with the law. The second part deals with the dreams these characters have, each one being weirder than the other.
I was surprised at how absurdly funny this film is. Most Bunuel films do their surrealism for reasons of transgression, and while this film is illogical and transgressive, it’s done mostly for the purpose of humor. Or at least that’s how I see it. The casting is great. Fernando Rey, a Bunuel regular, shows up as a rich man who sells drugs (just like his character in The French Connection) and has a constant fear of an Indian terrorist (who’s pretty hot) from the Republic of Miranda (?). Also on board is Delphine Seyrig, who you might remember as the Queen Of The Vampires in the sexy Daughters Of Darkness. The rest of the cast is also very good, and all represent a very decadent piece of the rich society.
The dream sequences are weirdly hilarious as well. My favorite has to be the one in a barn where a priest (now a gardener) takes a shotgun and shoots a man who is responsible for the death of his parents many years ago, all while praying to be forgiven. Then there’s the sequence where, for no apparent reason, the curtains part and it shows them being part of a stage. They all excuse themselves and say they’ve forgotten their lines. I wish Bunuel had made more comedic surreal films like this one, it’s one of his masterpieces.