Page 1 of 3
Luis Bunuel sneaky, playful classic - featuring a lovely Catherine Denueve - gets a wonderfully thorough Blu-ray debut....
Cohen Media / 98 Minutes / 1970 / Unrated / Street Date: March 12, 2013
Even with his Oscars and unavoidably universal reputation as one of cinema’s great auteurs, returning to Luis Bunuel films makes it seem somehow like the guy’s totally underrated, as though the quirky, off-the-beaten-path tales he tells are just now ripening up. Take the sweet and nasty Tristana, for example. I hadn’t seen this late-career gem since I popped in my old Criterion LaserDisc a while back, and experiencing both its narrative tides and rampant intellectual prodding has never felt better.
What astounds about Tristana (and so much of the filmmaker’s work from the 1970s) is how it’s able to fuse the heart and mind of its cinematic syntax so interchangeably. Even at his most audacious, Bunuel is never preachy, nor does give the impression that he’s trying to teach his audience a lesson of any major import: no, this is a tale of love and lust, of greed and revenge, of passion and personal invasion, and it balances these dramatic quadrants with impeccable fluidity.
And let’s face it – it’s a bona fide thrill just to watch Catherine Deneuve and Bunuel mainstay Fernando Rey share the screen together in Tristana. A quickie synopsis of the loveplay at hand in the film (and how the studly Horacio (Franco Nero) figures into things) might make Tristana seem like a Lifetime movie with a 70s-arthouse pedigree, but that isn’t the case. This is the sort of haunting, playful, outstandingly intelligent fare that Bunuel was again and again capable of in his later years as a filmmaker. One of these days we’re bound to catch up with him.