24 March 2006 | Galina_movie_fan
How to live a perfect life in a corrupted world?
Octavio Paz, Mexican poet, writer, and diplomat, who received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1990, said about "Nazarin": "Nazarin follows the great tradition of mad Spaniards originated by Cervantes. His madness consists in taking seriously great ideas and trying to live accordingly". A humble and spiritual priest (Francisco Rabal in a wonderful performance) attempts to live by the principles of Christianity but is cast out of his church for helping a local prostitute by giving her a shelter after she had committed a murder. Nazarin wanders the country roads of the turn of the 20th-century Mexico, offering help to poor and begging for food. His two followers, a murderous prostitute Andara and her sister Beatriz who is a failed suicide desperately searching for love, consider him saint but it does not prevent him from hatred and humiliation from both the church and the people he meets on the road. He ends up beaten in prison and begins to question his faith for not be able to forgive his attacker.
Bunuel tells the story in a manner of a Christian parable masterfully and uniquely combining admiration and irony for the main character and strong criticism of formal religion and hypocrisy. The film is simple and profound as well as beautiful, ironic, and heartbreaking.
I consider Bunuel one of the best filmmakers ever. I've seen twenty of his films and they all belong to the different periods of his life but they have in common his magic touch, the masterful combination of gritty realism and surrealism, his curiosity, his inquisitive mind, his sense of humor, and his dark and shining fantasies. With great pleasure I am adding little seen and almost unknown but amazingly candid and touching surrealistic tragic-comedy "Nazarin" to the list of my favorite films.