Anti-clerical cinema: Nazarin (1959)
By Criteria: The Catholic Film Podcast ( bio - articles - email ) | Feb 25, 2022 | In Criteria: The Catholic Film Podcast
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One of the boldest inclusions on the 1995 Vatican film list comes from an atheist director well known for his anti-clerical films, Luis Buñuel.
His 1959 film Nazarin does not seek to discredit the Church by portraying an obviously hypocritical, venal or sensual priest. Rather, protagonist Fr. Nazario is a Quixote figure, unable to make any difference in this miserable world no matter how strictly he follows his religious code.
Film scholar Maria Elena de las Carreras returns to the podcast to talk about Buñuel as an artist unable to escape his post-Tridentine Spanish Catholic upbringing. His vision replaces the supernatural with humanism, but not an optimistic humanism. For Buñuel, whatever moments of human kindness we may encounter along the way cannot change the fact that life is hell.
It is interesting to compare Nazarin with many other priest films, including Monsieur Vincent; Diary of a Country Priest; Silence; The Fugitive; and Leon Morin, Priest.
Watch Nazarin with English subtitles here—far better quality than the version on Amazon: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cdr04mntPG4
Music is The Duskwhales, “Take It Back”, used with permission. https://theduskwhales.bandcamp.com/
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