To Confuse and Offend

When L’Age d’Or screened in 1930, crazed audience members threw ink at the screen and destroyed artworks by Salvador Dalí and Man Ray in the lobby. The uprising could have had something to do with the scene of a girl performing fellatio on a religious statue’s toe. Or it could have been the final vignette, implying that a Christ-like figure holds orgies and scalps women. Compare both scenes this Wednesday, when L’Age d’Or screens as part of “The Discreet Charm of Luis Buñuel” series at Miami Beach Cinematheque. It will be preceded by Buñuel’s first and most iconic film, Un Chien Andalou. In contrast, this film did not inspire any such revolts, probably because no one could understand it. The deliberately nonsensical, nonlinear film includes the razoring of an eye; a cross-dressing, cycling nun; a closeup of armpit hair; and a severed hand crawling with ants. Buñuel’s experimental tendencies were heightened in Chienby his collaboration with Dalí, who famously said, “I don’t do drugs. I am drugs.” Cinematheque will also exhibit Buñuel memorabilia from its archive, such as the first-release Spanish posters of L’Age d’Or designed by renowned poster artist and filmmaker Ivan Zulueta. Just leave any buckets of ink at home.
Wed., Aug. 31, 8 p.m., 2011

 
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