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That Obscure Object of Desire

Among the film world's brilliant jokers and devoted anarchists, Luis Buñuel has no equal -- never will. And in the great, daunting body of the Spanish director's work, which spans five decades, That Obscure Object of Desire (1977) must rank somewhere between the sublime and the miraculous. Always at home in the dungeons of the subconscious and the byways of sexual obsession, Buñuel here gives us Fernando Rey as Mathieu, a hopeless fool so enthralled by his first glimpse of an enigmatic beauty called Conchita that he must pursue her at any cost to self and soul. Leave it to Luis, who first made it surreal with Salvador Dalí back in 1927 with their landmark collaboration Un Chien Andalou, to constantly yank Mathieu's chain, and ours: Conchita is portrayed not by one actress, but two -- Carole Bouquet and Angela Molina -- and, despite her constant teasing, she (they?) remains as elusive as a dream. Trust Buñuel, along the way, to savage church, state and middle-class morality with unbridled glee. "Thank God I'm still an atheist," he once announced, and in that, perhaps, we find a key to the fabulous sense of paradox that marks all of his work -- from L'Age d'Or to The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie.

That Obscure Object of Desire screens at 7 and 9:15 p.m. Saturday, April 10, as part of the University of Colorado's International Film Series. Showings are in Muenzinger Auditorium on CU's Boulder campus. For more information, call 303-492-1531 or log on to www.internationalfilmseries.com.

 
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