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Friday, August 30, 2013

Tristana (1970)

After her mother dies, a young girl (Catherine Deneuve) is taken in by an older friend (Fernando Rey) of her late mother. But the young girl's innocence is soon corrupted when the old man seduces her and becomes both father and husband to her. Loosely based on the novel by Benito Perez Galdos, Luis Bunuel's perverse examination of his favorite topics: the hypocrisy of the bourgeoisie, the impracticality of the Church, all with the impudent touches that mark it indubitably as a Bunuel film. In one of her best performances (even if she is dubbed into Spanish), Deneuve captures the innocence of a child/woman as she slowly finds her own voice but eventually becomes as venal as the man who exploited her. There's not much of the irreverent wit among the perversities that Bunuel usually injected into his films, this is a pretty bleak melodrama. But it stands with the best of his work. With Franco Nero as the lover who almost frees Deneuve from the clutches of her tormentor, Lola Gaos and Jesus Fernandez.

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