Tristana (1970)

Directed By – Luis Buñuel

Screenplay By – Julio Alejandro & Luis Buñuel

Based on the Novel By – Benito Pérez Galdós

Cinematography By – José F. Aguayo

Starring Catherine Deneuve & Fernando Rey

95 min.

Tristana is not as playful as other Buñuel films, but thematically it is deeper than most. What is so great about Buñuel films is that the audience most really watch the entire film to understand the characters. Tristana may be the epitome of that Buñuel characteristic. The characters are not summed up in one scene or act, but are only completed once the movie is. For a modern audience Tristana might be a little too slow in terms of pacing, however, I think the themes presented in the movie and the remarkable character arcs are strong enough to keep a modern viewer interested.

Both Catherine Deneuve and Fernando Rey deserve recognition. Catherine Deneuve plays innocent, beautiful, and deathly sexy all so seamlessly as Tristana. While Fernando Rey is the perfect blend of chivalrous and sleazy as Don Lope.

Every time I watch a Buñuel film I am surprised. Usually it is because of his tactful playfulness but this time I was awed by how he was able to subvert previously established character traits so smoothly that it didn’t hit me how much the characters had changed until the movie was already over. Tristana is not for those without a certain level of patience, but I promise it pays off.


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