Viridiana (1961)

US Criterion Collection DVD edition

was a co-production between México, the colorful Gustavo Alatriste (married to Silvia Pinal) and Spanish
Bardem productions. So Buñuel was back in Spain as a Méxican citizen and made the film under the Franco regime and
it was shot outside of Madrid. The film created a huge scandal in Spain and in Italy and was forbidden even though
it won the Golden Palm in Cannes. Banned by the Vatikan. Buñuel says in his autobiography that Generalissimo Franco
watched the film, due to all the ruckus, and didn't find anything objectionable about it. But this is catholic crazy stuff.

The Film is famous for it's paraphrase and tableaux of Leonardo da Vinci's late 15th century painting "The Last Supper"
with all of the dirty beggars, poor and the sick having their orgiastic feast after taking over the mansion, but also of it's
iconic pictures of pious Silvia Pinal dressed in her dead aunts wedding gown.

The Story:

Pious Viridiana (Silvia Pinal) is a Nun and when her aunt dies she has to leave the convent to visit her benefactor uncle,
Don Jaime (Fernando Rey), who lives on a big estate with his housekeeper Ramona (Margerita Lozano), her daughter
Rita (Teresa Rabal) and the caretaker Moncho. Viridiana brings with her her Nun stuff, her crucifix and her Christ Thorn
and she reads her prayers before going to bed.

But, Don Jaime is a pervert. He tries on his dead wife's shoes (yes, that fetish again) and caresses her underwear and
he makes Viridiana wear her wedding gown. With the help of Ramona he also drugs Viridiana and almost rapes her. Don
Jaime wants to marry her but she refuses and decides to leave the estate. She soon returns when Don Jaime committs
suicide by hanging himself with little Rita's jump rope (Rita can be seen happily jumping using the rope soon after).
For me, this felt like the end of Part one, Viridiana and the perv uncle, and Part two to be Viridiana and the Hobos.

Above: Viridiana from Spanish Divisa Home Video 8 disc Blu-ray Buñuel Collection - No English subtitles, region all

Viridiana and the Hobos:

Viridiana stays on the estate which she and her cousin Don Jorge (Francisco Rabal) now shares as inheritors. Viridiana
won't return to the Convent and now wants to dedicate her life to helping people, the poor and the sick, and she makes
a part of the estate a haven for a bunch of colorful and ragged looking hobos and beggars, and one being a Leper. This
bunch of unlucky poors for sure were charismatic, one played by a real beggar and another by Lola Gaos (and what an
interesting face she had).

Angelic and naive Viridiana perhaps expect gratitude from this crowd, getting free food and housing, but .... hey, this
is a Buñuel movie, and they are choleric, nasty and even depraved. When Viridiana, Jorge, Ramona and Rita are away
and the estate mansion is empty they take over the house and are having a huge Feast turning into an orgy of depraved
behaviour. They are rotten and vulgar and they are having the time of their life. Great fun and one of them even tries to
rape Viridiana when she returns (maybe succeeded, not sure).
The famous tableaux of the ragged and nasty hobos mentioned above is the antithesis to Jesus and his disciples.

Criterion presents the film in 1.66:1 ratio and with spanish original audio mono with english subtitles (the spanish Divisa
bluray seen above also has an 5.1 audio option and a Picture Gallery).
Extras: Interview with Méxican actress Silvia Pinal (14 minutes, 2006), Cinéastes de notre temps - French TV Documentary
about one of the masters of film and unique interviews with Buñuel (37 minutes), Interview with Richard Porton about
Viridiana (12 minutes from 2005), Trailer and a booklet with a Buñuel interview


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