Le Fantôme de la Liberté (The Phantom of Liberty) (The Specter of Freedom) Reviews
Great ideas, aged well. BUT: acting is very farcical, the directing is very loose and some bits are too self-explanatory, maybe they would work better as a comic strip or a stage play. The ideas are great, but the execution not so much. Very brave movie.
In a career beginning in 1929 with iconic short "Un Chien Andalou," Buñuel's penultimate masterpiece, 1974's "The Phantom of Liberty," is a great argument for his genius. Buñuel was seventy-four years old at the time of the film's release, an age wherein the majority of filmmakers are either becoming increasingly inclined to rely on autopilot or are retired and patting themselves on the back in their luxurious beach homes after decades of hard work. But "The Phantom of Liberty," dauntingly provocative and unashamedly challenging, feels like the work of a young man, weird, witty, and wonderful. It's among his greatest achievements.
Customary to many of his best pictures, "The Phantom of Liberty" doesn't utilize an established storyline to give basis to its ideas. Like a dream or a lucid hallucination, it moves dreamily from one scenario to the next, some characters connected to one another and some a part of Buñuel's cerebral commotion, to be left behind without a trace. Tying the freewheelingness together, though, is a common theme of being shackled to cultural normality in a society that's supposedly best distinguished by its freedom.
The satire isn't exacted at anyone directly - Buñuel is most drawn to the way various cultures, regardless of the year and regardless of the region, live in fear of crossing the paths of controversial unmentionables, of anything that interrupts a sense of comfort and banal normality. We're in a prison of civilization, Buñuel cinematically grieves, and we're all victims to a strange world of contradiction.
Cynical, maybe, but his presentation is facetious and fanciful; it's a true blue comedy of manners. Moving from character to character, addressing assorted taboos and anxieties with the brevity of a vignette, "The Phantom of Liberty" is unafraid to cuttingly jeer at the hypocrisies of religious zealots, the trepidations toward sexuality, the baseless fearfulness of falling out of power once you have it, and the tendency the public has to sensationalize widely covered crime to a point that mimics idolization. It also ponders, with great comedic success, too, what it would be like if using the restroom, for instance, were a public activity and dining were a private action. If artistic photography were considered scandalous, not pornography and pedophilia.
Taken separately and "The Phantom of Liberty's" individual storylines might be seen as inconceivable, perhaps grotesque. But when threaded together by Buñuel's razor sharp penning, the lampooning is rigorous and cohesive. His jabs, particularly the bathroom gag, are so repetitiously dotty that they catch us off guard in the way they so discerningly bite. What could easily be categorized as phantasmagorical oftentimes proves to be so suitable for the topic at hand that the pointedness could draw blood.
And a buzz arises from our being in response to a film as didactic as "The Phantom of Liberty"; to be challenged, but not condescendingly so, is a sensation more cinematically elusive than the plainspoken thrill. Buñuel would make just one other movie - the equally prodigious "That Obscure Object of Desire," released in 1977 - but the film doesn't show signs of slowing down; it's a piece of new beginnings, of evolving artistic interests. It's a masterstroke
This is pretty weird stuff. Random things happen, some of the things are quite smart and makes you think in some direction only to get your thought confirmed or vanished.
Many faces on screen, taking turns in a smoshy story that just goes on. It's hard to pay attention here, but it does give me some smiles. Sometimes it's a bore, other times great, speculative fun. It looks great and it's well produced and directed. It's something else, but not too extreme - especially these days.
I dig that toilet / dining room scene - that lifts the film a whole lot. It's a bit too long between the treats here, so I can't say I was hooked, just pleased.
6.5 out of 10 poker monks.
Dies wird keine tiefsinnige Analyse des Films (soweit das überhaupt möglich wäre), sondern eher eine Reihe von Beobachtungen die ich gemacht habe.
Bunuel greift in diesem vorletzten seiner Filme einfach alles an was in sein Leben lang an der westlichen Zivilisation störte: Bürokratie, Staat, Justizwesen, Sozialsystem, Kirche und, sein Lieblingsthema, Bourgeoisie.
Das Bürgertum kriegt wieder und wieder sein Fett ab in Le Fantôme, und das nicht gerade subtil. Der Film ist eigentlich eine große absurde Komödie in europäischer Tradition mit viel Nacktheit wenig political correctness" und einigen einprägsamen Bildern. Dabei wählte Bunuel die Technik der losen Assoziation durch die er einige kurze Segmente miteinander verbindet. Das Ganze wirkt dann ein wenig wie ein Anthologyfilm, nur surreal und somit gar nicht mal so abwegig.
Das Design des Films ist großartig. Bunuel verzichtet auf große visuelle Effekte und vertraut auf Sound und Situationskomik um den gewünschten Effekt zu erreichen.
Der Film ist total übersexualisiert, und wohl der atheistischste Film der mir einfällt. Anti-Establishment, offen links und doch gar und gar apolitisch. Zu Politik scheint dieser Film gar nicht fähig zu sein, eher erinnert sein Witz an den der britischen Komikertruppe Monty Python. Naturgemäß, als großer Fan der Letzeren, fand ich auch großen Gefallen an diesem Film.
Die einzelnen Segmente zu analysieren oder nicht zu analysieren macht wahrscheinlich genau so viel oder wenig Sinn wie bei Un Chien Andalou, auch wenn Le Fantôme weit weniger kryptisch ist.
Ich denke Bunuels Intention war es dann doch eher eine Komödie zu machen und die Bourgeoisie der Lächerlichkeit preiszugeben, und solang sie als solche funktioniert braucht man das Ganze nicht wirklich zu etwas Größerem hochstilisieren.