L’Age d’Or (1930)

L’Age d’Or (1930)

☛ Written by Luis Buñuel (scenario), Salvador Dalí (scenario), Marquis de Sade (novel) | Release date 29 November 1930

L’Age d’Or, commonly translated as The Golden Age or Age of Gold, is a 1930 French surrealist satirical comedy film directed by Luis Buñuel about the insanities of modern life, the hypocrisy of the sexual mores of bourgeois society, and the value system of the Catholic Church. Much of the story is told with title cards like a predominantly silent film. The screenplay is by Buñuel and Salvador Dalí. L’Age d’Or was one of the first sound films made in France, along with Miss Europe and Under the Roofs of Paris.

☛ Directed by Luis Buñuel
☛ Written by Luis Buñuel, Salvador Dalí
☛ Produced by Vicomte Charles de Noailles, Marie-Laure de Noailles
☛ Starring: Gaston Modot, Lya Lys, Caridad de Laberdesque, Lionel Salem, Max Ernst, Germaine Noizet, Josep Llorens Artigas, Duchange, Ibanez
☛ Cinematography: Albert Duverger
☛ Edited by Luis Buñuel
☛ Music by Luis Buñuel, Georges van Parys
☛ Release date 29 November 1930

☛ Synopsis : source 🖜

The first scene of the film is a documentary about scorpions. After that, the film is a series of vignettes, wherein a couple’s attempts at consummating their romantic relationship are continually thwarted by the bourgeois values and sexual mores of family, church, and society.

The couple are first seen creating a disturbance by making love in the mud during a religious ceremony. The man is apprehended and led away by two men who struggle to control their captive’s sudden impulses. He momentarily breaks free long enough to kick a small dog. Later he struggles free to aggressively crush a beetle with his shoe. As he is escorted through city streets, he sees an advertisement that inspires him to fantasize a woman’s hand rubbing herself, and becomes transfixed by another advertisement showing a woman’s legs in silk stockings. He eventually escapes his handlers, inexplicably assaults a blind man standing at a curb, and gets into a taxi.

Meanwhile, the woman is at home, where she tells her mother she hurt her finger, which is wrapped in a bandage that disappears and reappears from scene to scene. The woman and her parents attend a party where the guests seem oblivious to alarming or incongruous events in their midst: a maid screams and falls to the floor after emerging from a doorway where flames are visible; a horse-drawn cart filled with rowdy men drinking from large bottles passes through the elegant company in the ballroom; the father converses with guests while ignoring several flies on his face; a small boy is shot and killed for a minor prank.

The man arrives at the party and sees his lover from across the room. He behaves brusquely toward the other guests while looking ardently in the woman’s direction, and she looks longingly at him. The woman’s mother hands the man a drink, but spills a drop on his hand. He becomes enraged and slaps her, which seems to excite the daughter. Seeking sexual release and satisfaction, the couple go into the garden and make love next to a marble statue, while the rest of the party guests assemble outdoors for an orchestral performance of Liebestod. When the man is called away to answer a telephone call, the woman sublimates her sexual passion by fellating the toe of the statue until the man returns.

The Liebestod music stops abruptly when the conductor, his hands gripping his head, walks away, and wanders into the garden where the couple are. The woman runs to comfort the elderly conductor before finally French kissing him. The man stands up, bumping his head on a hanging flower pot, and grasps his head in pain as he leaves the garden. He stumbles away to her bedroom where he throws a burning tree, a bishop, a plow, the bishop’s staff, a giraffe statue and handfuls of pillow feathers out the window.

The final vignette is an allusion to the Marquis de Sade’s 1785 novel (first published in 1904) The 120 Days of Sodom; the intertitle reads: 120 Days of Depraved Acts, about an orgy in a castle, wherein the surviving orgiasts are ready to emerge to the light of mainstream society. From the castle door emerges the bearded and berobed Duc de Blangis (a character from de Sade’s novel) who greatly resembles Jesus, the Christ, who comforts a young woman who has run out from the castle, before he takes her back inside. Afterwards, a woman’s scream is heard, and only the Duc re-emerges; and he is beardless. The concluding image is a Christian cross festooned with the scalps of women; to the accompaniment of jovial music, the scalps sway in the wind.

L'Age d'Or (1930) ☛ Written by Luis Buñuel (scenario), Salvador Dalí (scenario), Marquis de Sade (novel) | Release date 29 November 1930
L’Age d’Or (1930) ☛ Written by Luis Buñuel (scenario), Salvador Dalí (scenario), Marquis de Sade (novel) | Release date 29 November 1930
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