Age D’Or, L’ (1930)

“The impossible force that thrusts two people together, the impossibility of their ever becoming one.”

L'Age D'Or Poster

Synopsis:
A sexually voracious young couple (Gaston Modot and Lya Lys) are constantly interrupted as they try to make love.

Genres:

Response to Peary’s Review:
Perhaps the definitive surrealist classic, L’Age D’Or is, as Peary notes, a “devilishly hilarious affront to bourgeois society, clericalism, and morality, as well as to movie-audience complacency.” In his review, Peary — like most others (see links below) — lists many of the strange vignettes which make up this infamous film’s loosely woven plot; but the power of Bunuel and Dali’s “story” (their final collaboration together) ultimately lies in its visual impact, and thus these scenes should be seen rather than described one more time here. Bizarre imagery aside, when watching L’Age D’Or one is bearing witness to an essential piece of cinematic history: during the first few weeks of the movie’s release, outraged members of the League of Patriots and the Anti-Semitic League threw ink at the screen, while incensed patrons destroyed Surrealist art in the foyer; French censors eventually burned all existing prints, and the film was “denied a major U.S. release for 50 years.”

P.S. While Peary doesn’t list Un Chien Andalou (1929) in his Guide for the Film Fanatic, this short film — Bunuel and Dali’s first together — is an equally important piece of cinematic history, and should also be seen by all film fanatics. Along with L’Age D’Or, it may very well be the epitome of subversive cinema.

Redeeming Qualities and Moments:

  • An endless barrage of truly bizarre, darkly comedic images
    Toe
  • The opening “scorpio sequence”

Must See?
Yes. This surreal classic must be seen to be appreciated, and merits multiple viewings.

Categories

(Listed in 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die)

Links:

One Response to “Age D’Or, L’ (1930)”

  1. A must – and well put in the assessment. Must be seen for its unique, anarchic place in cinema history.

    This is a flick that, perhaps, gives certain film scholars apoplexy as they try to decipher what it all…’means’.

    Well, ya ain’t gonna hear any of that from yours truly. I’m not even sure where I’d begin; I could make a stab at overall ‘issues’, but…is that even the point?

    It will mean what it will for you. And, to me, that’s its power.

    I will admit that there are certain laugh-out-loud sequences – in this as well as in ‘Un Chien Andalou’. (It surprises me that Peary doesn’t include the latter. I somehow just naturally always see the two as a double-bill.)

    More than anything else, Bunuel and (esp.) Dali seem to be acting like pigs in mud, playing with this new (at the time) canvas called cinema and exploiting its possibilities for the senses and for the soul.

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