The Milky Way

Working on the script for The Milky Way, Luis Buñuel and Jean-Claude Carrière recalled in My Last Sigh, “we spent days discussing the Holy Trinity, the dual nature of Christ, and the mysteries of the Virgin Mary.” Part theological treatise, part shaggy-dog story, the resulting film follows the picaresque adventures of two shambling, none-too-pious twentieth-century pilgrims on the famous route to Santiago de Compostela in Spain, with numerous spatial and temporal detours along the way. The digressions illustrate a meticulously researched catalog of historical heresies, from Jansenist mortifications to modern, unauthorized miracles, in a tone of relaxed clarity and sober silliness that left some critics wondering where Buñuel really stood on Catholic dogma. Characteristically, he insisted that the film was “neither for nor against anything at all.”—Juliet Clark

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