Tonight we will be watching L’Age d’Or (1930), Luis Bunel‘s fabulous classic. Outside of recognizing the surrealist quality that overwhelms the film, it is hard to describe exactly what this film is. It lacks what has become the classic narrative form we know today, but you have to keep in mind that this film was made when film was figuring itself out. The earliest films were little more than stunts or filmed stage performances. Bunel is an early story teller in the cinematic tradition, using the camera and editing — mise en scene and montage — to piece together a story. It is great stuff.
I wrote at least one paper about this film, focusing on the liebestod scenes midway through the film.
I suggest a double-feature. Watch Un Chien Andalou (1929). A mere 16 minutes long, it packs a lot. I forget my cinema basics, but people who haven’t make a big deal about the famous sheep/woman eye slitting scene that opens the film.
Rather quickly film making embraced narrative of the novel. It is interesting to think about how today’s films might look today if realism gave way to the surreal.