Friday, September 5, 2014

La Voie lactée (The Milky Way) (1969)

Director: Luis Bunuel
Writers:   Luis Bunuel, Jean-Calude Carriere
Cast:       Paul Frankeur, Laurent Terzieff, Alain Cuny
Language: French/Sapnish

Two drifters go on a pilgrimage from France to Santiago de Compostela in Spain. Along the way, they hitchhike, beg for food, and face the Christian dogmas and heresies from different ages.

The title refers to the the fact that the original name for Milky Way was 'Way of St. James' which directed pilgrims from northern Europe to Spain. The film plays with time with the two main characters encountering individuals from older times in the modern setting of the film including Jesus Christ who is depicted as more of an ordinary man with him  joking around, feeling hungry, making mistakes and so on. Luis Bunuel was a prominent atheist during his time and he coined the phrase:'Thank God I'm an atheist'. Through his many films he had rallied against moralism and organized religion. This film works as vignettes of absurdisms he wants to present about Catholic dogma. Things like trinity of Christian God, Freewill in the context of omnipotent God and Virginity of Mary are discussed pointing out how people cannot get their head around these things when they actually think about it. The so so called heresies shown in the film are historicall accurate with the end credits preceded by the following statement from Bunuel:

The film is not very cinematic but is a decent enough watch. For atheists like me who are not that interested in the lunacies associated with Christian faith (or any faith for that matter) the film doesn't hold much interest. Better to watch much more slapstick yet poignant ones like 'Life of Brian' which I think would have been influenced by this film.

Rating: 2.5/5