Le Fantôme de la Liberté (The Phantom of Liberty) (The Specter of Freedom) - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Le Fantôme de la Liberté (The Phantom of Liberty) (The Specter of Freedom) Reviews

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November 25, 2016
Of course it's a classic, absolutely mandatory film.
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.
July 25, 2016
I like that Luis Buñuel doesn't much care about what his audience thinks. I like that he's unhesitant to satirize anything that strikes him as mannered and taboo, that most of his movies are both deadly serious and fiendishly funny. I like that he leaves logic at the door, preferring to assault our senses with ticklish surrealism that invites us into a weird world where anything goes. I like that he seems to be decidedly aware that his work might strike some as being pretentious and oppositional, and that it doesn't stop him from doing whatever the hell he wants.
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
½ March 27, 2016
I experience in every event that my thoughts and my will are not in my power. And that my liberty is only a phantom.
February 21, 2016
It's a shame Buñuel isn't here anymore to lead the path of surreal, yet funny films. I truly loved The Phantom of Liberty, it conncects charmingly, has a great sense of humor and makes you dream within its bright story.
Robert B.
Super Reviewer
October 8, 2015
The Phantom of Liberty is straightforwardly surreal and absurd. The film has a knack for maintaining interest by making one alternatively wonder at what strange thing will happen next and to what extremes it can be taken. It is also amusing enough to earn a passing grade.
½ September 23, 2015
A terrific series/set of (interrupted but linked) episodes about the bourgeoisie and their (bourgeois) liberty, which is really a phantom (or spectre) of liberty, and which is really bourgeois oppression, repression, perversion.
June 3, 2015
Master of surreal seriousness, Bunuel strikes hard against the established society. Putting everything upside down in this scene floating in another movie. Unpredictable and absurd, provoking our minds out on a spin, unleashing every common norm into the flushing water stream down the toilet.
½ April 10, 2015
My first full-length from Luis Buñuel - the father of cinematic surrealism.
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.
February 22, 2015
Bunuel's surreal album of inter-connected episodes champions social and moral relativity. Society is satirised by turning it upside down. Sublime. 8/10.
August 10, 2014
A series of thematically unified vignettes rather than a single narrative, The Phantom of Liberty is in all understanding a follow up to The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie. Carried by scenes that are surreal satires, the film is consistently inventive, if a bit disjointed overall, but the films most famous sequence (which involves characters sitting at a dinner table while defecating) is worth the price of admission alone.
Super Reviewer
May 16, 2014
Buñuel at his most playful and hilarious, it might also be his most daring film. It jumps from one absurd scenario to another without bringing any of those pieces to a satisfying conclusion but the film never feels inconsistent or jarring.
½ May 10, 2014
"The physical production is stunning to look at. The cast is large, first-rate, but the presence that dazzles us is that of the Old Master, just off screen, mercilessly testing our senses of sanity and humor."
August 10, 2013
Humorística crítica sobre la sociedad libre en el mundo capitalista de finales del siglo 20
July 18, 2013
Brilliant in its concept and ideas, it's a work of a real author. Not much feelings, but a lot of dry understated humor.
½ July 15, 2013
This movie shits where it eats...and eats where it shits. Bunuel was so weird.
July 2, 2013
Le Fantôme ist Chaos pur, wie beginnt man also solche paar Zeilen wie ich sie zu Verfassen im Sinn habe?
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.
Super Reviewer
½ June 10, 2013
The final segment's ending reminds of El Ángel Exterminador (1962); the only difference is that you shouldn't make a meaning out of it. Since La Voie Lactée (1969), Buñuel was now irremediably obsessed with religion and contradictions. Since the religious side had already been explored, it was the turn for, once again and for the last time, mocking at the "relativity of moral consensus". You cannot argue with Buñuel's logic (except religion; he was quite ignorant). Artistic freedom had always been his wet 24-fps dream.

April 29, 2013
An astonishing satir !
April 8, 2013
The Old Master provides us with a savage satire, a flawed but admirable concoction of surrealism that tests our sense of sanity and proportion...
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