I'M TIRED OF SYMMETRY- THE DESTRUCTIVE RHYTHMS OF
BUNUEL'S BOURGEOIS TRILOGY
Savi Munjal is currently pursuing her M.Phil in
English Literature. She teaches at the University of Delhi and
her areas of interest include visual culture, history and theory
of the representational apparatus in World Cinema and the interdisciplinary
aspects of British print culture and literature. Her work on
South-Asian cinema has recently been anthologised by Routledge,
Back to Essays Index
"I believe in the future transmutation of those
two seemingly contradictory states, dream and reality, into a sort of
absolute reality, of surreality, so to speak." (Breton 1936: 66)
"The artist is the eternal non-conformist. Thanks
to the artist power cannot say everybody is in agreement with it."
The Surrealist Revolt lent a death blow to all notions
of coherence and with it the entire architecture of traditional thought.
The genesis of Surrealism can be traced to Dadaism and Breton's Surrealist
Manifesto which advocated Freudian free association of dreams, illusion,
reality and chance. The contextual, conceptual and formal qualities
shared by Breton's 1924 Manifesto on Surrealism and Bunuel's surrealist
films forms an important fulcrum to understand the matrix between Surrealism,
ideology and psychoanalysis that forms the backbone of much of Bunuel's
The twin epigraphs refer to the dual foci of this essay- it examines
Bunuel's rejection of formal harmony, linear teleology and unity in
favor of the asymmetrical, the heterogeneous, the hybrid which characterizes
the aesthetics in The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie (1972), The
Phantom of Liberty (1974), and The Obscure Object of Desire (1977).
The essay will interrogate Bunuel's destruction of the unilinear narrative
in favor of a fragmented form as a discursive choice .Bunuel consciously
moves away from what Burch calls the Institution Mode of Representation
(IMR: Burch defines the IMR as a kind of naturalized discourse, the
Hollywood prototype that has established conventional processes of identification
) in order to fashion a minority cinema, opposed to the teleological
Hollywood cinema. The hybridity of his narratives seems to arise out
of a unique mix of his Spanish heritage, Latin American new narratives;
his work with independent producers such as Serge Silberman in the French
Cinema industry and his leftist ideological affiliations.
The primary contention is that Bunuel's cinema is not auto-telic--rather
it subverts both the social and the cinematographic system as it attempts
to grapple with the essentially polyphonic and dialectical nature of
'modern' experience. The latter half of the essay will examine Bunuel's
invocation of the networks of family, religion, power and nationhood
in order to visibalise and subvert them. In many ways then, Bunuel's
bourgeois trilogy provides the audience with a cinematic anticipation
of the Foucauldian project. Clearly then, both form and content feed
into one another in order to make Bunuel's cinema doubly disruptive,
the ideological lynch-pin for buttressing dissenting sentiment. Signification
operates through social consensus and the lack of adherence to traditional
signification accounts for its "alternative, liberating newness
against the absorptive capacity of
Surrealist film-makers including Man Ray, Hans Richter, Marcel Duchamp,
Luis Bunuel and Salvador Dali celebrated the unconscious as a liberating
force which could help escape the deadening pressures of 'rationality'.
Surrealists sought to concretize the fantastic, an apt example of Artaud's
L'imprevu objectif and manipulated cinematic elements such as time,
space and movement in order to disorient the viewer. This prioritization
of 'irrationality' and insistence on a state of true authenticity helps
to break free of repressive censoring mechanisms like the ego and super-ego
and closely resembles Freud's method of free-association. Bunuel's first
movie, Un Chien Andalou opened with the eye-ball splitting scene that
has now acquired an almost legendary status. The purpose of such scenes,
according to Bunuel himself, was to "produce in the spectator a
state which could permit the free association of ideas, it was necessary
to provoke a near traumatic shock at the very beginning of the film".
The irrational montage seeks to alienate rather than placate the viewer
and is marked by spatio-temporal incongruity. Images such a man completely
wiping his mouth off his face or armpit hair on the face necessitates
a purging of rationality.
This irrationality is also reflected in Bunuel's 'perversion' of time.
The film starts with a fairy-tale like 'Once upon a time
foregrounds constant shifts in time 'Eight years later
makes a very prominent appearance in the cinematographic image as his
films seem to revel in autonomous shots with uncertain causality. The
fractured causality of The Obscure Object of Desire highlights Bunuel's
disdain for conventional clock-time. The dream logic of the The Phantom
of Liberty for instance, subverts the rigour of clock time for the focus
is on instinctual time. The conflict which comes into play with numerous
close-ups of monsieur Foucauld winding up the clock can clearly be defined
as la duree vs clock time, instinct vs. the intellect and becoming vs.
being. An important sequence is when Monsieur Foucauld sets his alarm
and the camera pans from his wife, back to him. Nocturnal visitors include
a postman, a hen, a secret agent all in film time but apparently taking
up real time too as the acoustic ticking of the clock shows. The presence
of the letter makes it hard to determine whether it was dream or reality.
The pan shot at the beginning seems to suggest that it was his wife
who was dreaming. This could help explain the presence of the letter.
For the audience the dream functions as a diegetic device that moves
the plot forward but it is indeed impossible to gauge whose dream it
was or where it ended. As James Tobias points, the camera is not cutting
between two episodes. Bunuel uses continuity instead of jump cuts which
could highlight the severance of one shot from another.
David Cook draws attention to Bunuel's avoidance of distorted lenses,
super imposed images, and blurred focus or complex camera movements
which were cinematic conventions of the day to suggest the dreamlike
quality of his film. Unlike Rene Clair's Entr'acte, Bunuel approaches
the entire non-narrative in a straightforward manner. He uses the shocking
incongruity of the images themselves to build the hallucinatory feeling
of anguish that runs through the film. Bunuel's method, Deleuze points
out, is essentially restrained and uses definite cuts and static shots.
Despite the smooth transition, there is a considerable transition in
the colour scheme. This is evident in the scene where the soldier walks
up to the ladies sitting in the restaurant. Buñuel uses diffused
lighting, dark colors, and shadows in the dream sequences to lend an
ominous air to the narratives. At the level of mis-en-scene the dark
lighting signals a generic shift from bourgeois satire to a somber,
even morbid world of dreams.
This alteration of dream and reality, the 'real' and 'unreal' subverts
the kind of coherent referential meaning we expect in Cinema and defines
the non-habitual rhythms of his radical work. The essential attempt
is to explode what Walter Benjamin calls 'the continuum of history'
and wring mankind away from the conformism which threatens to overwhelm
entire civilizations. The cyclical narrative of The Phantom of Liberty
can be read as a response to the rational, disciplined and ordered bodies
of Nazi parades and spectacles as it could to Industrial Capitalism
and assembly line production. Most importantly, Bunuel attempts to show
how bourgeois concepts of self are as systematically destructive of
human freedom and delimiting as Nazi death camps. The cyclical form
questions stratified structures, what Derrida calls 'violent hierarchies'
in a way that does not present a Utopic world which moves beyond these
distinctions. Instead Bunuel addresses these historical power imbalances
by thinking through dominant concepts and presenting complications to
show the contingency of stratification. The a-centred, non-hierarchical
structure ensures that Bunuel's films qualify as what Deleuze and Guittari
call 'a film rhizome'. In their book titled A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism
and Schizophrenia, Deleuze and Guittari define a rhizome as a structure
which brings into play very different regimes of signs, and even non-sign
it has neither beginning nor end
it constitutes linear
multiplicities with n dimensions having neither subject nor object,
which can be laid out on a plane of consistency
the rhizome pertains
to a map that must be produced, constructed, a map that is always detachable,
connectable, reversible, modifiable and has multiple entranceways and
exits and its own lines of flight. (21)
Similarly, the aesthetic is colored by a realization that
the world has no fixed centre, a realization Eco associated with post-modernism.
The spatial model of the labyrinth is followed as dreams are embedded
within other dreams. The perfect example perhaps is The Discreet Charm
of the Bourgeoisie where one of the characters wakes up to tell his
wife "I was dreaming, no I was dreaming that Sénéchal
was dreaming". After a while it becomes impossible to determine
whose dream it is? Where does dream end and reality begin? Sample the
ending of Belle De Jour. Is the whole film Severine's dream? Did she
dream about Pierre's handicap? Or is she dreaming that Pierre is cured?
It is this unification of interior and exterior reality that Breton
envisages as the final aim of Surrealism. The fabric of Bunuel's surrealist
cinema clearly deploys the Hegelian dialectic to achieve a seamless
interpenetration of two adjoining realities. The merging of image, thought
and camera, depiction of no-signs (Deleuze, in Cinema 2,defines 'No-sign'
as an image which goes beyond itself towards something that can only
be thought) in a single 'automatic subjectivity' provides a contrast
to the objective conception of the American Cinema. Hollywood cinema
uses Surreal tropes frequently but these remain limited to the content
of the narrative while the form does not lose its linearity. E.g: The
dream sequence in Hitchcock's Spellbound (Clip 1.19.19- 23.25) is just
one example of the incorporation of surreal elements in canonical Hollywood
cinema. However the 'surreality' is limited to the dream sequence designed
by Dali. Moreover the dream images scattered throughout the film (impressions
of a fork on a sheet which will become stripes on pyjamas, striations
on a white cover, a glass of milk, a field of snow marked by ski-lines)
are all explained using Freudian psychoanalysis and thus subsumed into
the realm of 'rationality'. According to Deleuze it is this that signifies
European Cinema's break away from the American limitations of the Action-Image
(Deleuze 1989: 55). One images changes to another thereby constituting
a becoming which can continue to infinity. In Un Chien Andalou the image
of the cloud bisecting the moon passes into the razor bisecting the
eye. At another time a tuft of hair becomes a sea urchin, which is transformed
into a circular head of hair, which in turn gives way to a circle of
In trying to make sense of the images, the viewer must negotiate with
the unconscious. In Un Chien Andalou, for instance, the young man is
fighting his own unconscious urges for the young woman. In one remarkable
scene he strains against the combined weight of a piano, a donkey and
two priests - an absurdly humorous representation of the repressive
forces of bourgeois culture and religion. L'Age D'Or, largely understood
to be a representation of l'amour fou (Mad love) depicts the lovers
Modot and Lya Lys who are constantly thwarted in their unacceptable
passion by society. Modot can be seen as representing the unconscious
in its free, anarchic aspect, while the repressive society is the aggregate
super-ego. Modot has no tolerance for the trappings of society; they
are but obstacles to the fulfilment of his desires. An example is the
way he slaps the mother at the dinner party, and when he kicks the blind
Bunuel frequently takes recourse to sound in order to invoke the power
of the unconscious or overcome the boundaries of reality. The sounds
of wind, bells and barking link the two lovers together even if they
are miles apart. In a startling scene the cow bells become louder once
the cow has left, providing continuity between spatially disparate shots.
Bunuel rejects the unifying synchronization sought by Hollywood in a
number of his films- This disjunctive relation between time and image
is frequently linked to political discourse. Political discussions around
smuggling drugs and the ministers' explanations about why the drug dealers
must be released are drowned by urban noise. "To make sure that
the spectators realize the suppression of this information is intentional,
the pattern of censorship is repeated" (Kinder 13). The importance
of the soundtrack in the hermeneutics of the film cannot be ignored.
Belle de jour lacks a musical score but non-diegetic sound effects are
once again used to unify spatially incongruous shots or symbolize Severine's
dream world. In the very first shot cows bells occupy a central place
and the sound gains resonance as the movie progresses. Aural cues bridge
real time-space (i.e. objective reality) and subjective time-space (i.e.
Severine's subjective states) into one continuous plane.
Clearly the Freudian psychology of dreams plays an important part in
Bunuel's films. Both Belle de Jour and The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie
make frequent use of the dream-vehicle. In Belle de Jour the dreams
act as wish-fulfilment of the repressed sexual desires of Severine,
and in The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie the dreams of the bourgeoisie
represent their fear of the unmasking of their superficial world--witness
the scene where the bourgeoisie suddenly find themselves eating dinner
on the stage of a theatre. The importance of dreams, I believe, is indicative
not just of Surrealists' Freudian bent but also Bunuel's politics of
The contention is that complete thematic subversion becomes possible
because of Bunuel's appeal to the unconscious- as Althusser points out
in Ideology and Ideological State Apparatuses "What seems to take
place outside ideology
in reality takes place in ideology
never says 'I am ideological'" (Althusser 118). This internalization,
what Althusser calls 'interpellation' is central to the transformation
of autonomous, sovereign individuals into ideological subjects. It follows
then that absolute subversion is possible only by appealing to the unconscious
and undoing, as it were, the ideological conditioning. Bunuel's French
films, made at a later stage in his career, still use surreal techniques
but seem to rely less on the 'shock' value central to the surreal schema.
This maturation aids the director to systematically expose and dismantle
power structures central to bourgeois society, ISA's which perpetrate
internalization of hegemonic practices. A ferocious critic of the ideologies
of the powerful in his films, he sets to annihilate the unholy trinity
of bourgeois complacency, religious hypocrisy and patriarchal authority.
This wreckage of convention and the absence of moral or aesthetic censorship
can be witnessed in Bunuel's representation of monks in The Phantom
of Liberty-- there is a witty transition from the scene of monks and
the nurse at prayer to the four chain-smoking monks gambling with their
holy medallions in a card game, "I'll open with a virgin",
says one while another plays 'a father'. Between these two points the
camera cuts away to a close-up of the shrine with its doors open and
the virgin on display. This image dissolves into another close-up of
the shrine with its doors shut now and the virgin presumably in retirement.
The reference to the Virgin brings a series of liturgical codes into
play and allows for a denunciation of Catholicism.
A similar exposé of the absurdity of the authoritative Ideological
State Apparatus is Aliette's disappearance. Bunuel shows how false words,
once confirmed by authority and convention have the power to contradict
logic and the direct evidence of our senses. What's more he goes on
to undermine conventional pedagogical practices which foreground learning
by rote and lead to the invisibility of the individual--"Speak
only when you're spoken to" Aliette is told.
In the same vein he overturns the bourgeois ritual of a dinner party
on its head as it turns into an endless and eventually incomprehensible
ritual that leads nowhere. In The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie
the drawing room is reconstituted in location after location to prevent
the event which is expected there. In The Phantom of Liberty the space
of the dining room, the sanctum-sanctorum of the bourgeois home meant
to reaffirm bourgeois worth, is cinematically transformed into a heterotopic
space (Foucault in his essay titled "Of Other Spaces" defines
heterotopia as the space which allows for the articulation of counter-hegemonic
sentiment) as commodes are placed around the dining table. Guests make
polite conversation as they shit and eating, by corollary, is relegated
to a private washroom-like compartment. Using a 'Swiftian ironic reversal'(Kinder
21) Bunuel reminds us that eating and shitting are merely opposite ends
of the same biological process and underlines our culture's arbitariness
in choosing to glorify one and denigrate the other.
Political networks of nationhood are scrutinized much in the same way
in Bunuel's work. In the The Phantom of Liberty M. Berman shuts the
door on the Spanish guitarist and dancer even as he invites the other
guests to his room. One of the Fathers asks the nurse and M.Berman if
they've ever been to the colonies. "Along with Spain, France's
poor relation, the colonies provide a geographic space onto which the
bourgeoisie can map its repressed fears and desires" (Jones 6).
In The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie Rafael Acosta, ambassador to
the Latin American Republic of Miranda is subject to Eurocentric clichés
about his homeland. The enquiry about pyramids drives home the fact
that most guests can distinguish his country from any other Latin American
ones. Interestingly Acosta lives up to the violent stereotype disseminated
by the French bourgeoisie when he shoots the colonel in retaliation.
As Mary Claude Taranger notes, national myths are satirized, asserted
and finally undermined through Bunuelian paradox.
Interestingly, it is the women who disseminate geographically correct
information in response to the absurd queries of the guests. Canonical
critics such a Germaine Greer have suggested that the role of women
in Surrealism is stereotypical- they merely function as sexual partners
to correspond to the male filmmaker's fantasy. However, Alice Sénéchal's
insistence on having sex when the guests arrive, Florence's delight
in alcohol and other worldly pleasures, her cynical expression, highlighted
by constant close-ups and constant demystification of the foibles of
the bourgeoisie, the lack of fulfillment in Sévérine's
marriage and finally the erotic fulfillment of her violently masochistic
fantasies in a brothel suggest otherwise. The Obscure Object of Desire,
inspired by Pierre Louys' novel La Femme et le Pantin (The Woman and
the Puppet) is essentially Mateo's family version of the heterosexual
narrative is, in effect one where the woman is drenched with water,
repeatedly subject to seduction and rape, sold by her mother and finally
publicly beaten and ashamed. Mathieu's narration of what could be interpreted
as a story of rape to a group of polite bourgeois including a Freudian
psychoanalyst exposes platitudes of love, sex and eventually power for
what they are. There is a constant threat of terrorist activity, hijackings,
robberies punctuated by explosions at the beginning and end of the film.
The political and sexual are not far apart for Bunuel, for they are
both arenas of power and repression. The two women interchangeably portray
the elusive Conchita (Carole Bouquet/Angela Molina), symbolizing the
complexity of her character, and Mateo does not seem to notice the difference.
The dichotomy parodies the constructedness of femininity as a masquerade
and the use of two Conchitas is "a brilliant Surrealist ploy which
disturbs and jars the spectator throughout the movie" (Kovacs 92).
The scrutinizing camera registers the presence of two women where Mathieu
perceives only one. The point is to show that his desire is to possess,
not someone in particular but someone. Once again this is reminiscent
of the Foucauldian matrix between power and sexuality for Bunuel's point,
much like Foucault's is to show that the concept of 'love', central
to Mathieu's bourgeois veneer is inextricably tied up with power and
sexuality. Bunuel's intention is fore grounded through the disorderly
state of the room in the first scene, the bloodied pillow and wet panties
the valet is seen carrying and the valet's comments 'she bled', 'she
was afraid' and which contradicts Matheiu's story. This testament of
sexual violence perpetrated within the patriarchal schema is telling.
Bunuel exposes this imbalance only to reconfigure the woman as the desiring
subject. Vestiges of mutual desire can be witnessed in his films as
early as 1930. In L'Age D'Or Modot looks at an advertising photo of
a woman leaning back in a chair and the film dissolves to Lys in the
same pose. She looks into her dressing-table mirror, and the infinite
sky replaces her reflection, and she experiences a sublime psycho-sexual
longing. The exemplary erotic charge on display is mutual. The dissemination
of images that stress on the dismemberment of the body, beginning with
the eye in Un Chien Andalou, is characteristic of Bunuelian cinema.
Close-ups, what Deleuze calls the 'impulse image' (impulse-image in
Cinema 1 is defined as "the only case in which the close-up effectively
becomes the partial object; but this is not because the close up 'is'
the partial object, it is because the partial object being that of the
impulse then exceptionally becomes close-up" (132); The impulse-image
celebrates the fragment), like ants crawling on a hand and repeated
fetishistic shots of feet, shoes and legs, Bunuel trademarks all, themselves
become social transgressive. The complex language of Bunuel's cinema
ensures that the woman's body is no longer an erotic object to be looked
at. The examination of links between erotic desire and oppressive political
systems which lends to Bunuel's Cinema its complexity also has a corresponding
effect of negating what Mulvey calls fetishistic scopophilia. The sexual
identity of the signatory then need not influence the ideological leanings
of the text completely. The freighted topos of films such as The Phantom
of Liberty and The Obscure Object of Desire underlines the complex ways
in which "phallocentrism and logocentrism are indissoluble"
The films, in my view, fashion a counter-discourse as they make way
for a cinematic deconstruction of the dominant discourse and try to
enact a space different from the totalizing potential of bourgeois discourse.
The questioning to totalitarianism is not merely thematic-The auteur
seeks the viewer to question his/her affinity for structures. 'Fascistising
crystallizations' (Guattari 1995: 163) including networks of class,
gender, nationality and family are invoked, interlinked and finally
Bunuel thus succeeds in the resignification of norms outside the epistemological
given. The constitutive limitations of the alternative discourse are
evident in its failure to foreground a formula for what Breton and Trotsky
called 'a complete and radical reconstruction of society' in their Manifesto:
Towards a Free Revolutionary Art. But inevitably, like the structuring
leitmotif of the weary guests walking on a deserted street, it is an
endless and incomprehensible path that ultimately leads nowhere. Repeated
long shots show that each time we return to it, there is no change,
no apparent progress-not even a lapse of time that we can see. Precisely:
there is none, the journey is aimless; the road is an empty one. While
this successfully conveys the discreetly good life, lived in complacent
ignorance of other modes or social classes, is its own empty aim and
end, it does not pose a solution to the problem. As Deleuze points out
in Cinema 1 'entropy (i.e. degradation)
. (is) replaced by the
cycle or eternal return"(Deleuze 132).
While Bunuel succeeds in drawing attention to the illusory nature of
all freedom, there is a fatalistic undercurrent in all his films. The
jump cuts between present day Rome and Imperial Rome in L'Age D'Or suggests
that things do not change. In all three films politics finally invade
the soundtrack, in the form of gunshots and explosions, to cut off an
impossible narrative that can have no end. The title of The Phantom
of Liberty which is a reference to the first line of Marx and Engels'
Communist Manifesto 'A spectre is stalking Europe' satirizes bourgeois
mentality which fears freedom and undermines Communism. Moreover the
film begins with Goya's painting (Goya's Executioners of May 3rd, 1808
depicts the execution of Spanish resistance fighters by Napoleonic invaders
bringing the French Empire to Spain in the name of Enlightenment values
of the French Revolution. The emphasis is on the Spanish resistance
fighters who chose to die in the name of autonomy) about Napoleon's
troops invading Toledo, Spain in 1808 and ends with a group proclaiming
'Long live chains' in France in 1968. After a long pan through the zoo,
so fast that everything goes out of focus, there is a close-up of an
ostrich which jerks its head and stares at the audience. The recurrent
close-ups of animals in cages and the cyclical narrative of The Phantom
of Liberty seem to suggest that both narrative and society are versions
of captivity-historical and cultural zoos.
All three films end with an impending sense of doom. In The Obscure
Object of Desire an apocalyptic explosion literally engulfs the whole
screen as the consumerist society of spectacle and simulacrum goes into
flames. Surrealism then veers towards deteriorating into an art-form
simply meant to shock the bourgeoisie or worse still degenerate into
a destructive and anarchic response to the strategies of containment.
In The Phantom of Liberty Bunuel literally visualizes Breton's dictum
"The simplest surreal act consists of dashing down into the street,
pistol in hand and firing blindly". (Clip POL 2(1) 11.52-13.35).
The serial shooting provides a fissure where Bunuel's surreal encounter
threatens to degrade into an abstract and anarchic non-conformism. Bunuel
comes close to advocating what Papanikolas designates as the groups
'anarchoindividualism'. The carnivalesque inversion then has apocalyptic
resonances as well. Purely at the level of form too, the continuous
incorporation of diverse elements in a non-symmetrical assemblage and
the manipulation of time, space and mis-en-scene to pervert the logic
of narrative continuity leads to obscurantism. In that sense, Bunuel
represents an "anti-bourgeois form of libertarianism" (Moi
However it is this very 'obscurantism' that is at the centre of Bunuel's
revolt. In his autobiography titled My Last Sigh he insists
The principle weapon was not guns, of course, it was scandal. Scandal
was a potent agent of revelation, capable of exposing such social crimes
as exploitation of one man by another, colonial imperialism, religious
tyranny- in sum, all the secret and odious underpinnings of a system
that had to be destroyed. (Bunuel 107).
The subversive, Bunuels films seem to insist, cannot be inscribed in
common Cinematic Language. The incoherent 'anti-form' actually arouses
the cognitive faculty of the audience by frustrating the consumption
of the film as a whole. Bunuel's films destabilize relationships between
viewer and film, aesthetic and commercial, spectator and object, the
self and the world and it is this lack of evolutionary coherence which
forces us to accept an open ended text. These 'writerly' texts, marked
by indeterminacy, function as communicative acts which initiate a dialogue
with the reader/spectator who is "no longer a consumer but a producer
of the text" (Barthes 6) and can reconstruct them in infinite ways
.Where are the six characters walking on the road going? What are they
doing? Will they reach their destination? These are questions the audience
must answer for themselves.
Bunuel can be credited with successfully espousing an assault on bourgeois
order by his landmark aesthetic and cinematic innovations, the fashioning
of a new space of social exchange and destabilizing the divide between
the public and the private, aesthetic and commercial. The incorporation
of the realm of dreams within the Cinematic medium allows the auteur
to escape any censoring mechanism. Utilizing sardonic humor and surreal
imagery his films lend a death-blow to notions of bourgeois stability,
exposing the bourgeoisie as a decadent class, anti-thetical to human
liberation. In his hands, Cinema figures as entertainment, art and the
agent of ideological praxis. He counters established power and develops
a vocabulary of his own to break away from standardized cinematic practices
which are reassuring for the audience. His bourgeois trilogy bespeaks
the energies of avant-garde innovation, an enthusiastic embrace of ambiguity
and a post-modern distrust of the master-narrative thereby recreating
the cinematic edifice to provide the most fitting rendition of the twentieth
century experience of 'modernity'.
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