3 August 2001 | rogierr
question what you've always taken for granted
Buñuel seems to be even more brilliant without the screenplays by Salvador Dali (un Chien Andalou, l'Age d'or, both 1930). Of course Jean-Claude Carriere is not a small name either, but Buñuel must be the great mind behind this masterpiece. Fantome seems to take off right from the premises of 'Le Voie lactee' (1969), as people seem to move in mysterious ways and mysterious things happen to them, there sometimes even seems to be time-traveling. Anything can happen along the way. But whereto leads the way? Who knows the direction and if so, does that direction make sense and to whom?
Yes, this film raises a lot of questions and that must be Buñuel's greatest power: question what you've always taken for granted. In any way, Buñuel continues his 'unrestricted creativeness' as someone on IMDb named it. Absurd, bizarre, subversive, anti-clericism, magic realism, surrealism, sophistry, you name it! Everything is in here. He seems to have returned to the experimental years (1929, 1930) completely. He probably thought he could get away with that because Charme discret de la bourgeoisie (1972) won an Academy Award for best foreign picture and Buñuel figured that everybody would be going to see this film, no matter how off the wall it was.
In Voie Lactee is a heated conversation between a catholic and a Jesuit about personal freedom that comes to a mysterious compromise when the Jesuit exclaims: 'Ma liberte est un fantom!' That is worked out here in Fantome de la liberte for a wider audience, in that we don't have to know much about the differences between catholics and Jesuits to be able to understand what's going on. Well, maybe most of the time. The other part it is just plain fun to watch and get your world turned upside down (That's why Catch-22 (Nichols, 1970) is my personal favourite film).
Cinematographer Edmond Richard (Charme discret de la bourgeoisie 1972, Cet obscure object du desir 1977) who should have won an Academy Award for 'Le Proces' (Welles, 1963) demonstrates that he can collaborate with Buñuel fabulously in Buñuel's last three films. Still I feel I'm missing the point of this film by a long shot. But that just gives me a reason to see it again soon! For now I'm just very thankful that someone recommended this to me.
10 points out of 10 :-)