Here, the acknowledged master of surrealist film starts with a sequence set in the Napoleonic era, then shifts to modern France for the rest of the film. A series of seemingly unconnected vignettes then unfold — some hilarious, and most totally bizarre. (Highlight: that dinner party with guests seated on toilets!). Each odd, provocative set piece flows into the next, without the benefit (or strictures) of linear narrative logic. Still, they give Buñuel ample opportunity to satirize and deflate the social forces which most fascinated and repelled him, including organized religion, politics, war and sex.
The work of Luis Buñuel — particularly his later output — is an acquired taste to be sure, but endlessly fascinating once acquired. Throwing away any semblance of traditional narrative, Buñuel works with celluloid as Magritte and Dali did with paint, applying his surrealist vision to impose an absurdist slant on various bedrock institutions and conventions. While this film may leave you scratching your head at times, it will also make you think; not an altogether bad outcome. Give me "Liberty"!