Viridiana ★★★★

Ranking Filmographies: Luis Bunuel (24/33)

This was Bunuel's first film produced in Spain in a generation and the fact that he managed to do so and win the Palme d'Or for Spain with a film of this nature - at the peak of the Francoist era - is a world-historic troll move.

Because this film crystallizes the themes of Nazarin to an even greater effectiveness while marrying it to his most memorable and eye-catching b/w cinematography yet. Viridiana is portrayed by Silvia Pinal in the first of three collaborations with Bunuel (she was notably fond of him and cited him as her favourite director to work with), and is a woman with a kind of coldness despite her moral inclinations - her piety is challenged and brought low by her experiences through the film and the result is a withering portrayal of religious hypocrisy, the paternalism of charity, the holy vs. the profane and how ideology comes apart when faced with real people.

Bunuel's first masterpiece, with a perfect economy of time at a tight 90 minutes and with much ground covered. Far from his most surreal work, but one of his most provocative with some shocking allusions.

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