The Golden Age (L'Âge d'Or)

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Total Count: 27


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Movie Info

L'Âge d'Or begins as a documentary about the habits of scorpions, utilizing library footage and silent-style intertitles. Amid the rocks of an inlet, archbishops are seen chanting by a beggar-soldier (Max Ernst), who then makes a long journey back to his hideout. He informs his fellow beggar-soldiers that the "Mallorcans" have arrived and it is time to bear arms and fight. But this small group of soldiers is weak and exhausted through starvation, and only one of them survives the trip back. The Mallorcans, a caravan of wealthy dignitaries and their servants, arrive to lay a cornerstone commemorating the now skeletal archbishops. The ceremony is interrupted by the screams of lovemaking, and the couple is separated by gendarmes and led away. The man (Gaston Modot), whom we later learn is a government official of some standing, establishes his nasty and anti-social character through the kicking a dog. The ceremony continues; a title card identifies this as the foundation of Imperial Rome. The next sequence intercuts scenes of the girl (Lya Lys), who is the daughter of a wealthy marquis, lost in a world of erotic fantasy, with scenes of the man being led down the street by the gendarmes. The man finally produces diplomatic papers, and is released. The marquis (Ibanez) and marquise (Germaine Noizet) throw a large party at their villa, where a number of strange events occur without the slightest notice from the guests. A momentary distraction is caused when the gamekeeper shoots his son over a minor incident. The government official arrives at the party and is soon in pursuit of the girl, although the social nature of the event, at first, keeps them apart. The marquise accidentally spills a little wine over the government official's hand, and he slaps her, exciting the girl. (Alfred Hitchcock would later echo this very scene in Strangers on a Train.) The girl and the government official are finally allowed to consummate their fetishistic desires to the strains of Wagner in an extended love scene in the garden. This is interrupted when the conductor (Duchange) of the concert nearby has a headache and walks off the podium, directly into the arms of the girl. The government official gets a phone call, where he is told that his actions have resulted in the deaths of tens of thousands of the "women, children, and old people" he is sworn to protect. He curses the caller, and enraged, he goes to his apartment to rip apart pillows and to hurl several objects, including an archbishop, out the window. The final sequence begins with a series of lengthy, and increasingly agitated, intertitles announcing that the Duc de Blangis (Lionel Salem) and his henchmen are due to emerge from 120 days of debauchery inside a secluded castle. When the party does emerge, the duke is seen to be missing his beard. ~ David Lewis, Rovi


Critic Reviews for The Golden Age (L'Âge d'Or)

All Critics (27) | Top Critics (4) | Fresh (24) | Rotten (3)

Audience Reviews for The Golden Age (L'Âge d'Or)

  • Aug 05, 2017
    Though definitely fascinating as a surrealistic experiment, it is more cryptic and rambling than Bunuel's previous film Un Chien Andalou, which makes it feel sometimes that now he is going for the "anything goes" philosophy instead of having full control of his ideas.
    Carlos M Super Reviewer
  • Jan 12, 2013
    A year after their aesthetically shocking "An Andalusian Dog", Luis Buñuel and Salvador Dali, two of the most subversive minds in all of modern art, return to form with something that's infinitely more scandalous, blasphemous and, to the eyes of many during the time, even close to pornographic. In a way, "An Andalusian Dog", a boldly offensive film in its own right, is their comparatively tamer (and saner, even) dress rehearsal for this little bad boy, an epic (yes, I think so) 60-minute dissection of societal putrescence. Although the film is comprised of surrealistic images that may or may not ultimately add up to one coherent message, the individual intrigue that the images were able to evoke are truly unnerving. In my personal view, the film's visuals, in all its take-no-prisoners lunacy, is one of the most spot-on recapturing of the social, psychological and romantic insanities of our times. So yes, despite of the film's highly blasphemous thematic texture, "L'Age d'Or" can be ironically considered as a 'miraculous' achievement in modern cinema, especially considering the fact that both Buñuel and Dali, at the time, were not that acquainted to the rigors of filmmaking. In simple description, the film, at least on surface level, is the story of how two lovers, because of numerous hindrances and disruptions, can't seem to consummate their sexual and romantic longings just like how the bourgeoisie people in "The Exterminating Angel" can't seem to get out of the room they're in or how they can't even seem to eat their meals in "The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie". Ultimately, it is in the middle of this kind of futility (specifically this film's two main characters and their misfiring attempts to be with one another) that both Buñuel and Dali were able to paint the landscapes of their film's masterful social probe. By penetrating the rotting core of what founds the pillars of religion, modern society and love itself, these two surrealistic bad boys were able to unearth, with unapologetic humor and shocking images, the intense perversity of human nature and its devastating consequences. Often merely described as a surrealistic satire, I think that "L'Age d'Or" should be more aptly labeled as an anti-religious social nightmare that will make even the most apathetic member of the social populace cringe. Hell, more than 80 years have passed and I still think that this film is not for the faint of heart. After all, what do you expect if you merge the minds of Luis Buñuel and Salvador Dali, an elegant costume drama? This film, just like the scorpions in its opening scene, may be too small in stature and short in length, but it sure profoundly stings.
    Ivan D Super Reviewer
  • Mar 09, 2011
    So surreal, yet darkly humorous and entertaining, Salvador Dali achieves his goal of not making sense.
    Dillon L Super Reviewer
  • Jan 30, 2011
    Age D'or is so wonderfully weird. It is a slice of modern theatre presented at the dawn of cinema and is remarkable for any time.
    John B Super Reviewer

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