Once Upon a Time In Hollywood
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Visually pleasant and filmed in a very charming way, although its themes are not as deep as they may seem, a bit pretentious I dare say.
Another enjoyable surreal film, albeit less widely celebrated, by Bunuel. The film is as bizarre and incoherent as Catholicism, and religion in general, is.
A more modern and surralistic take "thy old pilgrimage". Bunuel is in a way critical of the religion itself which he is folding his story around, the christendom. A messy pilgrimage it is, stumbling across lots of events with roots from biblotic tales.
The bad reviews this film receives are depressing. Most people would rather watch a grown man in tights chasing 'evil-doers'. What a shame. This is not a film for idiots, I'm afraid, which means that 90% of filmgoers should just keep right on moving. For those of us who care about the world around us, and the implications of the natural order, this ought to be absolutely essential viewing. Not the very best Buñuel had to offer, but magical and transcendental in its own right.
This sardonic lampoonery of Catholicism is a drier, more visceral 'Life of Brian'. 7/10.
The form is bold (a cinematic world made of catholic dogma), the content is complex and hard to follow, but Bunuel somehow makes it work beautifully.
While I was exploring this shit storm against the contradictions of religions and dogmatic beliefs, the first thing that came to my mind was Monty Python, especially The Meaning of Life (1983), even more than Life of Brian (1979). When I finally visit the discussion boards and recommendations section of IMDB and Flixster, everybody coincides. It is funny how I had the same perception some did before.
Buñuel, through a satirical, episodic structure of randomness, dreamlike hallucinations of the absurd and the earthly impossible, with wonderful cinematography by the great Christian Matras, embarks us on an unprecedented journey of the atrocities committed by the Catholic Church and the pervasive, narrow-minded, fundamentalist mentality of religion and the worldwide misinterpretation of the Scriptures. Buñuel was a hypocritical, show-off bastard for several reasons. The most important one was he made the mistake of assuring he had a reason to claim implicitly that what he was stating was true. He knew he hadn't, but he used the art of celluloid anyway maybe to entice worldwide audiences.
His questionings are perfectly justified and I agree with all of them; in fact, religion today does not have the answers to the questions he made here, but the Bible does, because the Bible is God's word. God is not a religion. Jesus is not a religion either. Catholicism, Christianity and all of its worldwide, ideological, philosophical and ecclesiastical derivatives are religions, and religions are based on deeds, not on faith. Even in the case in which they are based on faith, such "faith" has not the proper Biblical justification and the results are the inaccurate attitudes we see today. God does not approve the religion of today and the religion that has developed throughout history.
Buñuel hilariously states at the end that every single representation about the <i><b>Catholic religion and its resulting heresies</i></b> was scrupulously accurate. Having read the works of Augustine of Hippo and of Thomas Aquinas a thousand years later, and also having read the Bible in its entirety a number of times and studied it for more than 13 years now, that doesn't hold true at a 100%, beginning with the fact that the Bible never states Christ's physical appearance. So, what is inaccurate, of course, is the portrayal. Then comes Buñuel's tragic outcome about his personal life: <i>"Writings and quotations have been borrowed either from the Scriptures or from ancient and modern theological works and ecclesiastical history"</i>. That's the typical, yet inexcusable move from any declared pseudo-atheist (we deeply know he was never an atheist and there are tons of arguments to confirm this). You cannot just go quoting the Bible and philosophy like if they were compliments. The Bible is explained with the Bible itself, and the Bible states that. What, did you miss that quotation, my dear Luis? It's like citing a quantum physics book along the interpretation of the book of a 10-year old. Hahahaha!!!!
Poor Buñuel; the answer was in the Bible itself the whole time, and not in its personal childhood Catholic upbringing. Of course, it is easy to be confused, but "manipulation" does not exist. Ergo, just like Life of Brian (1979) lost one full star for being unnecessarily insulting (and actually less funny than everybody claims it to be), La Voie Lactée loses half a star for falling prey of its own trap: it is a contradictory film about contradictions.
My third venture into Luis Bunuel's repertoire, after THAT OBSCURE OBJECT OF DESIRE (1977, 8/10) and BELLE DE JOUR (1967, 8/10), THE MILKY WAY, which refers to "the road to St. James", depicts a trek of two vagabonds' pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela, en route they meet a melange of characters converse about their religious outlooks and interweaving with anachronistic re-enactments (or mimicry) of the biblical figures, trying to expound the hidden messages about the elliptical realm of divinity, humanity and heresies.
Religion is never my specialty, and the staccato narrative does remind me of Pier Paolo Pasolini's "Trilogy of Life", consists of terse vignettes or anecdotes, it seems the "reason" is never being considered as the director's prime option, all the impetus is purveyed by the re-created images and the Holy words (condescending, emotionless, authoritative), the two destitute pilgrims barely assume any obligation other than indicating a geographical route for the odyssey.
There are some highlights (for me at least), the transubstantiation argument between an ex-priest who ran off from a mental-hospital and a science-endorsed brigadier; a highly-histrionic image of Death during a car accident after an unintentional swear; the Holy Mary miracle narrated by the Spanish priest, and the eerily surreal "whoever knocks don't open the door" episode, all come off intriguing for an agnostic's mind.
The film adopts an authentic or natural sound recording, there is no use of concurrent music alongside, a barrage of religious parables may or may not reminisce the vicarious epiphany which the director deliberately intended, as a film under the belt of Luis Bunuel, I feel it is a pity I fail to find enough conspicuous worthiness in this film since the barricade lie between me and that spiritual world is rather too colossal.
Probably the most blasphemous film ever made when it came out, but it also clearly shows Bunuel's ability to tell a humorous story in a unique way. Two men are on a pilgrimage from Paris to Santiago de Compostela (Spain). Of course they travel by foot, but they also hitchhike as much as they can. What kind of pilgrimage they're on, I'm not too sure. It seems like they're going to find some kind of way to make money, since they are going because there are tons of other people there. Along the way they encounter Christians fighting over their religion. Was God also Jesus and the Holy Ghost? Or were they three separate beings that contained God? Well, how can God be three things at once? It's a very funny question, especially for those who grew up in the Christian religion. The church and pastors try to explain this in a number of ways, but no matter what it never made sense to me. Not saying it doesn't make sense or isn't logical, but it's a difficult concept to grasp. It's probably the most difficult thing to understand within the Christian religion, so it makes sense this is the subject many people are fighting over. These guys weave through many different places and when they reach somewhere, Bunuel places us with the new characters for a while until their plot is done and then we find ourselves with the travelers again. This is a type of film that would not be made inside any kind of studio system. It would frustrate too many people and not make much at the box office. It's not like Bunuel made films in Hollywood or requested much money, but I don't think it would be easy to find investors for something like this, which is a shame. There are tons of strangely funny scenes, such as the men in the hotel who stay in their own rooms and the innkeeper tells them not to open their doors for anyone, and when the priest comes up to continue his conversation with them they refuse to open their doors. Inside their rooms they have someone else. They appear out of nowhere, but the people aren't shocked nor afraid. One is a man of the same age as the other, and the other room has a woman. They discuss getting married and making love. The surrealist aspect clearly shows here. One scene the young traveler gets angry a man won't stop to pick them up and says he hopes he dies, then we hear a crash and discover he died in the accident. After this the angel of death comes by and talks philosophy. Throughout the film we also see Christ's story, one where his mother tells him not to shave because it makes him look more powerful, another where he's at a party and changes water into wine, and my favorite comes from the part where he denies his mother's request because she's not his true mother, but his sister just like everyone that believes in him are his brothers and sisters. Bunuel doesn't make him act like a holy man in this scene, but instead a little brat who deserves to be punished even though he's 30. And I think Bunuel's clear enough when he brings Jesus to present day and two blind men request the ability to see and once they do they are deserted by Jesus and his disciples. In typical Bunuel fashion, there's much comedy and much can be taken in whatever way you feel. He plays with elements of surrealism within his clear narrative in a way only he did. The Milky Way is probably tied for my favorite film from Bunuel.