Film

Film

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Once upon a time, there was a little film that sundered virtually every classic Old World taboo, against sexual lust, fetishism, sadism, coprophilia, blasphemy, anti-nationalism, anti-clericalism, you name it. In those youthful, passionate, surrealist days of yore—1930—the film’s affront was such that right-wing groups protested and mobilized their newspaper readers to physically decimate the theater in which it played (slashing Dalí and Ernst paintings hanging in the lobby as they went); two days later, police shut the movie down for good. Four years later, beset by a sudden Catholicism, the family of the vicomte who financed the film officially withdrew it from circulation. Since then, Luis Buñuel’s first feature, L’Age d’Or, has been available only in bar-brawled 16mm prints and the occasional cobwebby video copy. Now, finally, Kino has released this pop-historical dynamite stick on DVD—the clearest viewing opportunity for the film since the League of Patriots stormed Studio 28. Beginning famously with an educational documentary about scorpions and climaxing with the revelation of a beardless, Sadean-orgy-exhausted Christ, Buñuel’s devilish gob-in-the-eye can now reclaim its rightful throne as subversive culture’s seminal anthem film. The disc has precious few supplements—stills, a historian’s commentary—but the film speaks for itself with a cutting tongue.

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