France, 1969, 98 min
Direction: Luis Bunuel
Cast: Laurent Teryieff, Paul Frankeur, Alain Cuny, Delphine Sezrig, Edit Scob, Michael Piccoli
Awards: award for best foreign movie in Berlin, 1969
Selection: Pedja's Film Collection
A late creation of the famous Spanish filmmaker and, above all, great artist of free, even crazy spirit, severely criticizes clergy and religion in general. In The Milky Way, Bunuel demonstrates profound knowledge of some key problems of faith and the manipulation with religion, he analyzes their existence, but not for a moment does he ignore or diminish them. With this work, he actually shows that there is no truth in the statements made by his bitter critics that he is basically an anti-clergyman and an anarchist, but that he determinately opposes every human concept that leads to wars, destructions, oppressing, and prosecutions.
A comedy with drama elements or a drama with lots of bitter humor, yet The Milky Way guides the viewers on a pilgrimage to the holy city of Santiago de Compostela in Spain, together with two French beggars, Pierre and Jan. Along the way, they encounter a lot of colourful Bible characters, but also various people who, in one way or another, as sinners or saints, are involved in some important religious issues. Among them are some historical characters, such as Markiz de Sad, but also ordinary nuns with their crucifixion fetishes, Virgin Marry, sitting in a tree, numerous saints, apostles, and finally, the Devil himself who offers the passenger the whole world, under some “tiny” conditions, of course. The journey with the aim of the enlightenment turns to a little anachronous insight backwards to the genesis and complete development of the religion and faith, i.e. the Catholic Church that Bunuel attacks ferociously and uncompromisingly; so the movie rightfully reaches the status of the most controversial movie among a quite bizarre and publicly problematic opus of this director.
Rather free and open approach to a difficult and somehow dangerous question was characterized by Bunuel himself as “a journey through fanaticism”. The member of one of the most famous circles ever, the pre-war fellowship where he started his career together with Salvador Dali, Federico Garcia Lorca, in this way entered his final, French phase of his creation, in Paris, the city of his youth where he suddenly returned and temporarily settled after long journeys and running, first from Spain from fascism, and later from other forms of misunderstandings and oppressing of artistic and other freedoms. Visit Storytel for more details.