The Phantom of Liberty

Watch The Phantom of Liberty

"Luis Bunuel's kinkiest comedy."
  • R
  • 1974
  • 1 hr 44 min
  • 7.8  (16,780)

The Phantom of Liberty is a surrealistic and satirical film directed by Luis Buñuel and released in 1974. The movie stars Jean-Claude Brialy, Adolfo Celi, and Michel Piccoli, among others, and features a large ensemble cast playing a wide range of characters in seemingly disconnected episodes. The film starts with a group of soldiers asleep around a campfire who suddenly wake up and realize that they have lost their horses. As they walk through the forest looking for them, they stumble upon a group of monks who are staging a mock execution of one of their own. The scene then shifts to a bourgeois family having breakfast in their apartment, where everyone sits on toilets instead of chairs. As they finish their meal, the family members leave one by one, revealing that they all live in separate apartments in the same building.

Throughout the movie, the storylines continue to intertwine and overlap in bizarre and unexpected ways. For example, one character randomly starts taking off his clothes in public and ends up being committed to a mental hospital where he meets a woman who thinks she is Queen Isabella of Spain. In another scene, a man goes to visit his wife in a museum, only to discover that she is now an exhibit in a glass case. And in yet another segment, a group of people gather in a park for a picnic but are unable to eat because they keep getting interrupted by strange noises, including a brass band that suddenly appears and starts playing.

The Phantom of Liberty is a film that plays with and subverts traditional narrative structures. It doesn't have a linear plot or a clear central character but instead offers a series of loosely connected vignettes that explore themes of freedom, identity, and societal norms. The movie is full of strange and surreal moments, such as a man who speaks only in quotes from famous authors, a family who lives in an isolated house surrounded by police barriers, and a school where the students are required to wear sacks over their heads.

Many of the scenes satirize various aspects of modern life and the bourgeoisie, such as the scene where a group of upper-class women sit around a table wearing scuba diving gear and talking about their latest gadgets. Buñuel's trademark absurdist humor is on full display, and the film constantly subverts audience expectations and conventional cinematic storytelling.

Despite its lack of a traditional narrative structure, The Phantom of Liberty is a visually stunning film with striking cinematography and a masterful use of editing. The camera work is often unconventional, with scenes shot from unusual angles or presented in split screens. The film's score, composed by Pierre Boulez, is also notable for its avant-garde use of musique concrète and electronic music.

Overall, The Phantom of Liberty is a thought-provoking and entertaining film that defies easy categorization. It's a surrealist masterpiece that challenges viewers to think critically about society and the ways in which we navigate our daily lives.

The Phantom of Liberty
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  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 44 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    7.8  (16,780)