director Luis Buñuel
Amazingly, I’d never before seen Luis Buñuel’s first feature film, L’Age d’Or. And I say “amazingly” simply because it’s totally one of the kinds of films that I would have seen in my teen years or early adult film years. I don’t know what I would have made of it. Maybe I don’t entirely know what to make of it now.
After making Un Chien Andalou (1929) with Salvador Dalí, Buñuel endeavored to work with the Surrealist painter again, only, according to lore (and facts) they had a falling out only a few days into the planning of the film. A more sustained piece than the earlier short, the film also employs sound to its Surrealist motifs.
Buñuel, of course, would go on to a significant career in cinema, stretching the breadth and concepts of “Surrealism,” while true in many ways to the core of the aesthetic. L’Age d’Or is much more in tune with Un Chien Andalou perhaps than Buñuel’s later works, non-linear, abstract, fragmentary. But it exerts a strange power, particularly in moments and certain actions.
The would-be lovers are perhaps the most consistent motif, obsessed and hedonistic, but denied fulfillment, lusting deeply, verging toward violence, even sucking the toe of a silent statue. These are the images that have clung to me, great artifact that it is.