Silvia Pinal, Fernando Rey, Francisco Rabal, Margarita Lozano,

Luis Buñuel returned to Spain after twenty-three years of exile to make Viridiana, the film that won him the Vatican’s condemnation, the Cannes Palme d’Or, and widespread box-office success—except in Spain, where it was banned by Francisco Franco. Viridiana longs to become a nun, but on the eve of taking her vows, she makes a final visit to the home of her lecherous uncle, who sees in her the reincarnation of his dead wife. Viridiana never returns to the convent but instead turns her uncle’s estate into a haven for society’s outcasts: a blind man, a leper, cripples, and beggars. People, Viridiana seems to assert, must become completely human before they can become saints. But the complete surrender of the spiritual world to materialism is nowhere better evoked than in the famous beggar’s banquet, a feast turned into a blasphemous version of the Last Supper. The chic scandal that the film touched off, and the director’s own quips (“It was chance that led me to project the impious; If I had any pious ideas, perhaps I would express them too.”), tended to obscure the film’s complexities, into which Buñuel inserts some of his most outrageous erotic and religious imagery.

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  • Luis Buñuel
  • Julio Alejandro
  • Jose F. Aguayo
  • Spanish
  • with English subtitles
Print Info
  • B&W
  • 35mm
  • 90 mins
  • Janus Films