Laughing All the Way to the Grave

Once again, Luis Buñuel's time is now

An uncanny resemblance to Freud: Luis Buñuel (far left) on the set of 'Belle de jour'
Miramax Films
An uncanny resemblance to Freud: Luis Buñuel (far left) on the set of 'Belle de jour'

You'll find none of Ingmar Bergman's self-important breast-beating or Fellini's bombast and schmaltz in these movies. Indeed, it is the almost ugly plainness of Buñuel's style that has kept him in currency all these decades--but also, more important, the films' nonpartisan nature. In his opposition to every form of sentiment, to delusion, tribalism, and the romanticizing of one's superior position, Buñuel leaves himself, and us, free to indulge openly in what he does espouse: laughter, morbid eroticism, and indulgent sensuality. Yes, it's likely that your car will be bombed, your house flooded with rain, your kneecaps blown off by some acronym-sporting death squad you've never heard of. Till then, lick the last drops of bitters and gin off the melting ice cubes at the bottom of your glass.

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