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Viridiana [VHS]

Viridiana [VHS] (1962)

Silvia Pinal , Fernando Rey , Luis Buñuel  |  NR |  VHS Tape
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Silvia Pinal, Fernando Rey, Francisco Rabal, José Calvo, Margarita Lozano
  • Directors: Luis Buñuel
  • Writers: Luis Buñuel, Benito Pérez Galdós, Julio Alejandro
  • Producers: Gustavo Alatriste, Pere Portabella, Ricardo Muñoz Suay
  • Format: Black & White, NTSC
  • Language: Spanish
  • Subtitles: English
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Number of tapes: 1
  • Studio: Hens Tooth Video
  • VHS Release Date: September 24, 1996
  • Run Time: 90 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 6302562252
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #409,457 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
97 of 100 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bunuel dares you to laugh. April 26, 2002
Format:VHS Tape
'Viridiana' begins like a mad Spanish variant on Roger Corman's Poe adaptations. Don Jaime is the Vincent Price-like mad widower (his wife died of heart-attack on their wedding night), haunting his crumbling manor, neglecting his decaying lands, mournfully playing an old piano or listening to Bach and Handel records. At night, by a coffin in which is draped his bride's wedding dress, he wears her shoes and corset. In his past is a shameful story of youthful transgression, and an abandoned, illegitimate son. He invites his niece, Viridana, a dead ringer for his wife, to stay with him for the few days before she takes holy orders. In a fantastic ritual, he asks her to wear the wedding dress and proposes marriage; when she refuses, he drugs her, with the aid of his devoted servant - to whose daughter he gives the skipping rope that takes on an importance from the merely symbolic into the fetishistic and violent - and takes the niece to the bedroom for a necrophiliac rape. Prior to this, he had caught her in one of her sleepwalking trances, throwing her knitting into the fire, and pouring ashes on her uncle's bed. Pure Poe.
Poe was one of the acknowledged precursors of the Surrealists, and in 'Viridiana', Bunuel makes use of two Gothic tropes - the Gothic house/castle/manor is often a figure for the disintegrating mind, but also a metaphor for the nation: Don Jaime's madness, his gentility masking a dangerous egotism, his passion perversely and inwardly directed so that it feeds on itself, his neglect of the land, are all tenets of Franco's Spain, a pinched, gnarled, sterile world in this film.
The Gothic was also the genre in which society could dramatise those anxieties - death, sexual deviance, social disruption - not talked aobut in the middle class public sphere.
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54 of 56 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hypocrisy exposed May 8, 2002
Format:VHS Tape
This is one of the best pictures I have seen in my short life of 75 years. The plot is economical and excellent. The direction of Bunuel is outstanding (hardly news that). The plot exposes the hypocrisy of the devout, the fallibilty of human nature, the hopelessness of poverty and the uselessness of instictive philantropy. It would be difficult to make a better picture on the subject. I have seen it many times and I would see it again and again. Bunuel had to smuggle it out of Spain while Franco was ruling it but Franco loved it too... He would watch it in private...
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The reluctant masterpiece of Luis Buñuel! March 5, 2005
Format:VHS Tape
To make such genial film you need not only the natural gift, but besides the moral conviction and the necessary force to push against all the odds this brutally eloquent portrait of the last consequences involved when you decide to be in straight line according the holly precept of a concrete theologic virtue: the charity.

Just think in the historic moment the film was made. Buñuel was essentially an anti establishment artist , and his political posture is well known and one of his primary concerns consisted in proving that we are not in the best of the possible worlds and this statement scopes the shade of the Totalitarian Regimes in search a better world for the mankind : the search of the total welfare implies necessarily the demolition of the previous Status Quo. And if you watch with absolute coldness and free or passionless, you will feel this invisible slap in the face of the most devoted believers the human happiness can be stated. The literal mess when the alcohol make his late effects in the middle of this humble crowd , slowly and progressively goes showing the ugliness of the feelings behind the mask of good manners, creating a real atmosphere of claustrophobia and horror in the worst sense of the word. The sinister parody to the last Supper was immediately rejected by many religious sectors: Once more the forest avoided to watch the real intentions of Buñuel.

This extraordinary, original, powerful and unforgettable film is one the supreme master jewels of the Cinema in any age.

The performance of one of the most beautiful and talented actress in that age: Silvia Pinal as the prodigal nun who really believes in the fact the human still can be redeemable is simply of first rate. And the script deserves simply an everlasting applause. After you watch this merciless picture you will reformulate your inner vision about certain issues you considered out of discussion.
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12 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Parable from an Atheist. January 26, 2005
Format:VHS Tape
Director Luis Buñuel was the epitome of Surrealism in movies. All his pictures, even the underrated from his Mexican period, are provoking.

He was an atheist but, as many Spaniards, his soul and works are always tinted by the presence of the Divinity.

His visceral attacks are mostly focused onto the Catholic Hierarchy and the double moral practiced by the bourgeoisies.

In "Viridiana" (1961) as in most of his films, characters are ambiguous. They shed light and cast shadows to each other. There are no "absolutes"; even the more despicable have some traits of "virtue" and vice versa.

This movie is quite straightforward by Buñuel's standards. Without the fascinating and troubling daydream images he delivers in "Belle de Jour" or "That Obscure Object of Desire", he manages to give the watcher a hallucinatory-like world.

The storyline is as follows: Viridiana, a novice just going to profess, is recalled to her uncle's home. She reluctantly goes to pay a visit to her aging uncle and is involved in his lusty necrophilia fantasies.

She flees the manor, but at the railway station she is stopped by the police with the notice that her uncle has committed suicide.

She inherits the mansion sharing its possession with Jorge, his uncle's natural son.

From that moment on two projects coexist: Jorge tries to modernize the ranch's exploitation and Viridian collects and give shelter to a group of town's paupers.

Buñuel contrast this two projects with his usual bitterness and arrives to a final sequence that leaves the viewer in shock.

It is a great and dark film for adult audience. Be aware that Christian, particularly Catholic Christians, may be upset by the final sequences of the movie.

Reviewed by Max Yofre.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars Could not get this DVD to work on any of my machines!
I could not get this DVD to work on either of my DVD's? A second copy was sent by you and it still did not operate on my DVD's! Read more
Published on December 21, 2012 by Ronald
5.0 out of 5 stars Very Dynamic!
I had recently seen "Los Olvidados" by Bunuel and I knew from that that he was a director of great talent. Read more
Published on October 13, 2005 by Randy Keehn
4.0 out of 5 stars THEY WHO INHERIT THE EARTH
When Franco came to power in Spain, Luis Bunuel chose self exile. (After all, they DID shoot Lorca. Read more
Published on July 22, 2003 by JOHN D THOMPSON
4.0 out of 5 stars HEAVEN CAN WAIT
Shot in black & white, spanish director Luis Bunuel's VIRIDIANA won the Palme d'Or at the 1961 Cannes Festival. Read more
Published on May 16, 2001 by Daniel S.
4.0 out of 5 stars Perverse but interesting
I had not seen a Bunuel film for many years and the last one I saw was "Los Olvidados" which totally impressed me. Read more
Published on February 6, 2001 by Enrique Torres
5.0 out of 5 stars Franco financed this, which just makes it funnier!
This was my first Bunuel movie, Fernando Rey plays Dom Jaime who is visited by his neice/a nun,Viridianna and is overcome with lust and drugs her so that he can have his way with... Read more
Published on November 26, 2000 by John C. Martine
5.0 out of 5 stars Lo mejor de Buñuel
El productor de esta cinta, no sabia nada de cine, pero sabia que no sabia, así que le dio carta libre a Buñuel para que hiciera lo que se le vinera en gana, y... Read more
Published on October 12, 2000 by Enrique Guevara
5.0 out of 5 stars Powerful, A Masterpiece.
"Viridiana" is one of the greatest Foreign film works ever made. It is perfectly directed by the genius Luis Bunuel and has a richness in impact, story and visual style... Read more
Published on June 9, 2000 by Robert Blake
5.0 out of 5 stars To take on a deserted island
If there were only two movies ever made and they were Viridiana and Abel Ferrara's Bad Lieutenant, I wouldn't miss any of the rest.
Published on July 15, 1999
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