I Saw A Film!
A Bunuel masterpiece of frustration, class, and injustice set on a rural estate in France 100 years ago.
The beautiful Jean Moreau waves her big expressive eyes around as Celestine as she placates and agitates both louts and brutes alike. Some want to marry her, others only to model past loves and fetishes. But when there’s a brutal killing of a little girl, she becomes a kind of detective and follows her impulses to bring about justice. Sadly, no justice will come of the crime as the world revolves around parochial attachments and the brutes hiding behind their patriotism and devotion to the memory of the military lives they once shared. Not much changes.
On the way to this particular story are so many unusual alleyways. The Captain neighbor who endlessly throws his trash onto the grounds of Celestine’s boss, loving nothing more than to argue with owners of the property as he cuts the branches of their trees. The Captain asks Celestine to visit while his wife is out. Asks him to pin the murder on the owner/boss . . . the world Celestine must navigate includes both serfs and lords and all their sexual as well as domestic impulses.
Throughout the film are astonishing touches, the collected forest snails, the menacing groundskeeper’s immaculate apartment, the fetishest who is only in love with a pair of boots and not the lovely lady who models them for him, the offended young priest who the lady of the manor asks for advice about her lack of interest in placating her husband’s sexual requests. The world feels broken and terribly real.
How did people, working class people, manage to survive in such careless and rough circumstances, hopelessly chained to a system that provides no hope. We are little better today as we immerse ourselves in our entertainments, as for most of us beer and football will suffice.
This is running free on Prime (usa) and is well worth the time, though I must say that politically it speaks just as clearly to us today as ever. The wavers of gun muzzles in our faces as they demand ever more respect for their rights offer us nothing but menace. And Menace is something none of us need or have ever wanted. Our political divide seems firmly entrenched on one side insisting we blame the poor and people of color, and the other ready for a more equitable doling out of fair shares of amenities. A hilarious sign of the times was a recent advert online of a Trump-lover selling off his beloved, signed Trump memorabilia to pay for a hospital bill. Work that into your explanation of our era if you can.