Entertainment Weekly - 05/12/2006
"[A] typically classy, high-def digital Criterion Collection entry..."
Premiere - 07/01/2006
"The first of three Bunuel classics starring the Mexican superstar Silvia Pinal, it is still remarkably brisk and fresh and nasty."
An idealistic novice nun, hoping to practice good works in the world, opens the doors of her ancestral estate to a ragtag collection of the poor, tired, and hungry. But her charity backfires when the recipients of her benevolence don't warm to her ministrations, choosing to go on living just as they were--in the gutter. A scathing indictment of perceived Catholic self-righteousness from surrealist master Bunuel.
Viridiana is a novice on the verge of taking her vows when she visits her uncle Don Jaime's farm. Still pining for his wife who died on their wedding night, Don Jaime is struck by Viridiana's resemblance to her. He drugs Viridiana and attempts to rape her. Later on Don Jaime confesses to her what he tried to do, but soon hangs himself, humiliated by his own atrocious behavior. Viridiana inherits his farm and in an act of charity, opens it up to a marauding troupe of beggars. To her dismay, they ruin the main house in a wild orgy culminating in a gross parody of the Last Supper. Upon its release in 1961, VIRIDIANA was condemned by the Church, banned in Spain, awarded the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival, and admired by film audiences the world over.
Most prints of the film were confiscated in Spain when it was banned. Fortunately, some copies of the film were brought to France and it premiered at the Cannes Film Festival on May 17, 1961.
This was the first film Bu˝uel made in Spain in three decades.