Close Up

10 - 23 February 2019: The Phantom of Liberty


The Phantom of Liberty

Luis Buñuel, 1974, 104 min
French with English subtitles

""I’m sick of symmetry," states Monsieur Foucauld as he repositions his preserved spider above the mantel. Achieving total Buñuelian liberation from the despotic narrative form, this elegant labyrinth of contradictory, dream-like scenarios – each of which breaks-off and follows a different character – maintains a curious unity of its own. Never explicit or predictable in its sly comedy, Buñuel presents a deadpan inversion of normalcy that plays upon the tension between paradox, ambiguity and taboo: police searching for a missing girl that is not missing, modern guests seated at toilets around a table, a military roadblock due to a fox sighting. Upsetting and opening up expectation, the film resembles a conversation with a child; it is a playfully relentless reconsideration of our accepted existences where conclusion would suggest not liberty, but death." – Harvard Film Archive

Part of our season on Luis Buñuel