He is like Senegalese director Ousmane Sembene. He lays bare the ugliness of the country and society in which he resides for all to see. He tends to use noirish touches in order to accomplish this. However, just like Sembene there is something you can’t put your finger on that keeps his films from being great instead of just good.
I love Buñuel and have seen 16 of his films, but I just couldn’t enjoy this film at all. It’s about a priest who tries to live a good life, but is persecuted and seems to find it impossible to live that way. I missed the surrealism, I didn’t see much derision for the bourgeoisie nor a hatred for organized religion. Sure there is the laughing Jesus as shown above, but it’s not the same. Buñuel’s work in Mexico is certainly not as strong as his work in Spain and France. I can’t recommend this film.
I know I have bemoaned Tsai Ming-Liang’s films before this, but I also said I was going to watch one more. The movie is called The Wayward Cloud (2005) and I couldn’t have been more pleasantly surprised. Ming-Liang figure out what his films needed: Explicit Sex and Musical Numbers. This is one weird movie and I wouldn’t suggest that he repeat this film for the rest of his career, but it is a fun experience. I will let the screenshots below speak for themselves.
I have been looking for this film for quite a while. I have seen 5 of Ray’s films: Pather Panchali, Aparajito, The World Of Apu, The Music Room, and Charulata. If there is one constant in his films it’s that they are gorgeous to look at even if everything else doesn’t work for you. This is one of those films. The way the camera moves, the composition, and the beautiful black and white are a joy to watch. The story is about four men from the city visiting the countryside, having some experiences, and then leaving. Normally this kind of story would have the men leaving different from when they came, but if that’s in this film it is far too subtle for me to pick up. So I say approach it with caution because of the beauty of the images.