Sunday, 24 February 2008


Just watched the last episode of the Andrew Graham Dixon's Art of Spain on BBC4 I-play. The whole series was excellent, with obvious problem of having to cover Goya, Picasso, Miro, Dali and Brunel in one hour long programme aside, the last show was full his usual thoughtful engaging passionate stories.

The section about Luis Brunel reminded me that although Feb is my year anniversary over here at chez blogger I had another blog in another life over at casa yahoo. (it was a pain to use, the whole structure was annoying comentators had to sign up to yahoo etc).

Being a pretentious git or just at loss what to write my first ever blog post was a review of Brunel's most famous film 1960 Viridiana.
here's what I wrote. I seem to have not liked it which isn't what I remember which is the good thing about diaries I suppose.

It contains description of the plot not sure I'd heard of SPOILER at the time! Oh and bad joke to start with.

"Entry for November 02, 2005
did ya hear the one about the dyslexic pimp who bought a ware house?

Just got back from seeing a Luis Brunuel film "Viridiana".
It was a dark satire ie it wasn't very funny. I think if you were a very devote catholic in1961 you would be really shocked but it is less striking now. Basically it is parable about how trying to do good can prove the undoing of even the most pure of heart. The main character is trainee nun sent home on the eve of her marriage to Christ to see her Uncle. He is obsessed by her and after drugging her and attempting to rape her, tops himself . She along with her cousin inherit the uncle's estate and she sets about turning it into her own religous comunity, peopled by the local down and outs.
In the end her good intentions come to nought in an orgy of violence, booze, sex and custard (all to the tune of Handel's Messiah).There are allsorts of codes and messages in the film as well as the general onslaught against organised religion. Scenes where you get to see a nuns legs must have been totally new in 1961 , but are now the stuff of bad light entertainment. Even socialism doesn't get off lightly the poor and the oppressed are shown to be offish, venial and amoral not your upstanding chiselled saints pictured in soviet art. In fact all humans are shown in pretty poor light."
Ps . I included Goya's May 3rd at the top as it was conspicuous by it's absence from the programme. Goya's "black paintings " are great and weird but I found this as moving, although it was included in the excellent secret life of masterpiece series from year ago, so we'll let Andrew off.


al_uk said...

I did enjoy the program, immensely, particularly the first one, Sevilla and Grenada where we got engaged and the last one about Barcelona where we are going in a few weeks time. I must admit to having to laugh, though, at tll the over the top sexual references. I was not really convinced about the phallic Picasso in his version of the Les Meninas, It kept reminding me of Not the Nine O'Clock News Sketch.....Nelson's Column..Pah!...Its Nelson's Willy! That's what it is.....

Maybe I am just a "too repressed english" man.

BLTP said...

Definition of a phallic symbol in art critism: any object that's taller than it's wide.
Although Picasso was dirty old sod see all the cockerels in his painting also satyrs, bulls, naked women, naked women's bits, people having sex...
the picasso museum is good as it's gots lots of his early work and sketches etc so you can see him working up to the main pictures which are elsewhere, it's free on sunday but full of backpackers!

al_uk said...

I guess I am still naive in expecting artists to paint nice pictures to go on the wall that generally improve the quality of life of everyone else,
rather than pieces of "art" through which they express themselves and demonstrate their inner feelings and emotions.

al_uk said...

I do love Goya's May 3rd. It has a wonderful childlike illustration property and yet demonstrates such emotion and records such a difficult and bloody topic.