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The Phantom of Liberty
(Le Fantôme de la liberté)

Screening on Film
Directed by Luis Buñuel.
With Adrianne Asti, Monica Vitti, Pierre Maguelon.
France, 1974, 35mm, color, 104 min.
French with English subtitles.
Print source: HFA

V is for Vitti Vignettes

Another of Buñuel’s attempts to "épater les bourgeois," The Phantom of Liberty is an episodic work that radiates out from a brutal historical prologue set in nineteenth-century Toledo, where drunken French troops randomly murder the citizenry as they desecrate the church. In the first of a series of abrupt shifts, Buñuel segues to a modern-day Parisian park, where two au pairs chat on about the horrors of Napoleonic times as their young charges are accosted by a man. In this knight’s tour of the modern condition, the film shifts to the bourgeois father and mother (Vitti) and their doctors and nurses, and then further outward to embrace a seemingly random, yet systematic, critique of contemporary European psychopathology.

Part of program

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Cinema A–Z: Treasures from the Harvard Film Archive

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Luis Buñuel: A Centennial Celebration

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Devour the Land: Cinema, landscape, history.