The Phantom of Liberty

Movie Information

In Brief: Apart from the inevitable college screening of Un Chien Andalou (1927), my first acquaintance with Luis Buñuel was made in 1982 at the 47th Street Theater in New York City with a double bill of The Phantom of Liberty (1974) and The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie (1972). I’m not sure a more complete full-immersion Buñuel experience is possible. Whether or not that makes Phantom a good starting point, I don’t know. But it’s pretty certain that if you don’t like Phantom, you’re probably not going to like Buñuel very much at all. Like its more famous counterpart, Discreet Charm, it rails against the bourgeoisie, but it adds an extra level of vitriol for all bureaucratic agencies, and it jettisons narrative in favor of mere structure. There’s no story, merely a series of vignettes that are only slightly connected (often just physically), but which work their way back around to a reflection of the film’s beginning.
Genre: Surrealist Comedy-Drama with Satire and Occasional Blasphemy
Director: Luis Buñuel
Starring: Adriana Asti, Julien Bertheau, Jean-Claude Brialy, Adolfo Celi, Milena Vukotic
Rated: R

Classic World Cinema by Courtyard Gallery will present The Phantom of Liberty Friday, March 4, at 8 p.m. at Phil Mechanic Studios, 109 Roberts St., River Arts District (upstairs in the Railroad Library).  Info: 828-273-3332,

About Ken Hanke
Head film critic for Mountain Xpress from December 2000 until his death in June 2016. Author of books "Ken Russell's Films," "Charlie Chan at the Movies," "A Critical Guide to Horror Film Series," "Tim Burton: An Unauthorized Biography of the Filmmaker."

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One thought on “The Phantom of Liberty

  1. A. wilde

    Can anyone identify the piano piece the naked “sister” character plays before the requested Brahms piece in Phantom of Liberty?

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