Like most communists, Luis Buñuel was undeniably a pervert. He used film as an outlet for his fantasies and desired pleasures. Family excrement bonding, incestuous piano playing, and sadomasochism keep The Phantom of Liberty interesting from beginning to end. A sniper also makes an appearance and kills random people in a French city. This scene is very comedic in its absurdity. I like to think that the snipping scene was also one of Buñuel’s many fantasies.
Buñuel also attacks the lack of reason involved with bureaucratic governments and institutions. A family meets with a police commissioner to set-up a search for their missing little girl (who is in the room with them). The sniper is found guilty in court and is treated like a hero signing autographs. Scenes like these take a refreshing approach to film making. Buñuel deserved his title as “auteur.” Very few directors would take the chances that Buñuel took. I guess that would make him a film “revolutionary.”
The Phantom of Liberty has no progressive hurdles to jump over in the way of viewer anxiety. The film is very mellow and free flowing in its entire construction. As the viewer, you have no real expectation for what may come next. Without characters to care about or a plot to follow, The Phantom of Liberty still keeps viewers attention throughout the films entirety.
Luis Buñuel’s later films may be his best. That Object of Desire (Buñuel’s last film) and The Phantom of Liberty go great when watching both back to back. The title The Phantom of Liberty is an homage to philosophical terrorist Karl Marx. What a great title.