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Jason Toews and fifi (the band)

Viridiana

Director: Luis Buñuel
Country: Spain
Year: 1961

“The theme is that well-intended charity can often be badly misplaced by innocent, pious people. Therefore, beware of charity. That is the obvious moral that forms in this grim and tumorous tale of a beautiful young religious novice who gets into an unholy mess when she gives up her holy calling to try to atone for a wrong she has done… It is an ugly, depressing view of life. And, to be frank about it, it is a little old-fashioned, too. His format is strangely literary; his symbols are obvious and blunt, such as the revulsion of the girl toward milking or the display of a penknife built into a crucifix. And there is something just a bit corny about having his bums doing their bacchanalian dance to the thunder of the Hallelujah Chorus.”
Bosley Crowther, from his New York Times review of Viridiana

“I didn’t deliberately set out to be blasphemous, but then Pope John XXIII is a better judge of such things than I am.”
Luis Buñuel, after Viridiana was denounced by the Vatican

“In 1951, I made a small film called Mexican Bus Ride, about a village too poor to support a church and a priest. The place was serene, because no one suffered from guilt. It’s guilt we must escape from, not God.”
Luis Buñuel

Background

Luis Buñuel was born in Spain in 1900, was educated at (and expelled from) a strict Jesuit school, and eventually found his niche at the University of Madrid, where he became fast friends with Salvador Dalí and Federico García Lorca (you know – the poet?).

Inspired in part by Fritz Lang’s film Destiny (from the IMDb synopsis: “As a young couple stops and rests in a small village inn, the man is abducted by Death and is sequestered behind a huge doorless, windowless wall…”), Buñuel moved to Paris in 1925 to become a filmmaker (or something). This led to his scandalous 1929 collaboration with Salvador Dalí, Un chien andalou (The Andalusian Dog). Despite its status as a seminal work of the burgeoning surrealist movement, Un chien andalou is best known today as the inspiration for the Pixies’ song Debaser (“Got me a movie / I want you to know / Slicin’ up eyeballs / I want you to know…”).

His next film, L’Âge d’or (based partially on de Sade’s 120 Days of Sodom, the same source material as Pasolini’s Salo), began as another collaboration with Dalí, but they had a falling out over Buñuel’s Communist/atheist/anti-Catholic beliefs. Turns out Dalí may have been on to something; L’Âge d’or was denounced by right-wing critics as “…the most repulsive corruption of our age… the new poison which Judaism, masonry, and rabid, revolutionary sectarianism want to use in order to corrupt the people,” and was subsequently banned in France for 50 years. Although Dalí tried to reconcile many times, Buñuel rejected all such attempts.

Buñuel moved back to Spain, made a scathing documentary (Land Without Bread, 1933) about the disconnect between poverty-stricken peasants and the wealth-hoarding Church. In 1934, he married Jeanne Rucar, who remained his wife until his death.

The Spanish Civil War followed, and Buñuel realized that a man of his politics had no place in a fascist-ruled Spain, so he moved to the United States. During his time in the U.S., Buñuel turned his considerable technical skills to churning out Spanish-language remakes of U.S. films and other not-particularly-satisfying jobs for major studios.

For a time, he was an employee of New York’s Museum of Modern Art, producing compilation films and even producing a shorter version of Leni Riefenstahl’s Triumph of the Will. He lost that job (details are sketchy) due to the meddling of Cardinal Spellman.

In 1946, Buñuel relocated again, this time to Mexico. In 1949, he renounced his Spanish citizenship and became a Mexican citizen. Buñuel directed twenty (or so) films while living in Mexico, including a few masterpieces:

  • 1955: The Criminal Life of Archibaldo de la Cruz
  • 1962: The Exterminating Angel
  • 1965: Simon of the Desert

According to the Luis Bunuel website bio: “It was with his Mexican films that Buñuel began to fully develop his unique mix of surrealist humor and social melancholy, combining a documentary sense with surrealist qualities into a loose, discontinuous form of narrative that his films would continue to follow as his career would progress.”

In 1961, Buñuel was invited back to Spain by Generalissimo Francisco Franco. For the first time since Land Without Bread in 1933, Buñuel was making a film in the country of his birth. Unfortunately, the film was Viridiana, and Buñuel quickly found himself persona non grata, despite winning the Palme d’or at Cannes.

(Bizarre side note: Two years after the film’s release, the actress who played Viridiana, Silvia Pinal, gave birth to a daughter. She named her… Viridiana. At the age of 19, Viridiana died in a horrible car accident.)

Buñuel called Mexico home for the rest of his life, but when the Mexican film industry experienced a downturn, he travelled to France to create many of his best-known films:

  • 1964: Diary of a Chambermaid
  • 1967: Belle de Jour
  • 1972: The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie
  • 1977: That Obscure Object of Desire

Luis Buñuel died in Mexico City in 1983.

Synopsis

Over the opening credits: the Hallelujah Chorus from Handel’s Messiah.

We are at a convent. Mother Superior summons Sister Viridiana. A message has arrived from Viridiana’s uncle, Don Jaime; he will not be able to attend the eagerly-anticipated vow-taking ceremony. Mother Superior encourages V to visit the elderly uncle before taking her vows.

“Why should I go?” asks V. “He never bothered about me before.”

“Try to show him some affection,” commands Mother Superior, which I’m assuming will later seem darkly comic in retrospect.

Viridiana arrives at Don Jaime’s estate, where she is greeted by Ramona the maid and her rope-skipping daughter, Rita. Don Jaime welcomes her and admits that he has not been a model uncle: “Loneliness has made me self-centered.” (“…and crazy,” he should have added.)

Loneliness has also diminished his housekeeping abilities, it seems: The farm is choked with weeds, and the house is overrun with spiders (but only above the second floor).

While Don Jaime rapturously plays a pipe organ downstairs, the beautiful and virginal Viridiana prepares for bed. After slowly removing her nunnish stockings (sexy!)…

…she places a wooden cross, a crown of thorns, some nails and a hammer on a pillow, after which she folds her hands and regards her little crucifixion tableaux with veneration.

Those nutty Christians!

Next morning, Moncho the farmhand teaches V how to milk a cow. “Don’t be afraid, miss. Give it a pull,” he says encouragingly. V touches the cow’s pendulous udders with hesitation and barely-concealed revulsion.

In a tense conversation, we learn that Don Jaime has an unacknowledged son. “His mother wanted to keep him,” he tells V.

Later, thinking he is alone, Don Jaime tries on his dead wife’s shoes and underwear.

He is startled by a sleepwalking Viridiana, who silently gathers ashes from the fireplace and dumps them on her uncle’s bed. “Ashes mean penitence,” she remarks later, “and death.”

The day approaches when V is due to return to the convent. Don Jaime wants her to stay on, but she refuses. “Sometimes I want to hit her,” he confides to Ramona.

On the night before her departure, Don Jaime asks V to do him one special favor before she is cloistered away as a Bride of Christ. “I can refuse you nothing today,” she says. “All you have to do is ask.” So he does.

Turns out that Don Jaime’s dead wife’s bridal gown fits Viridiana perfectly.

“I’ll tell you something few people know,” Don Jaime says by way of explaining his kinky request. “Your aunt died in my arms of a heart attack on our wedding night… wearing that dress.”

See? Nothing creepy about it.

Don Jaime makes nervous small talk until Ramona blurts out the truth: “He wants you to marry him.”

Don Jaime confirms: “I never want you to leave this house.”

Okay, on second thought, this is actually all kinds of creepy.

V quite sensibly wants to return to her room, but Don Jaime convinces her to stay and have one last cup of coffee. The coffee is a special family blend with a robust aroma, a hint of cinnamon, and a light flavoring of Rohypnol. “Don’t think badly of me,” Don Jaime begs Ramona, as he carries the prostrate Viridiana up to the honeymoon suite. (Which reminds me: Anyone else remember the song New Girl Now by the group Honeymoon Suite? I loved that song.)

Rita watches through the window as Don Jaime carefully arranges Viridiana on the bed and then unbuttons her blouse, exposing her porcelain breasts…

It appears that he leaves her room without actually raping his unconscious niece, but that hardly matters; when Viridiana awakens, she can only assume the worst. She can never return to the convent now! Or, rather, she tries to return to the convent, but then Don Jaime hangs himself with Rita’s jump rope, and bequeaths part of his estate to Viridiana, and the police ask her to stay.

Mother Superior arrives to rescue the lost lamb, but V announces that she is not returning to the convent. “I’ve done nothing wrong,” she insists. “I only know I’ve changed.”

Convinced that she was responsible for the death of a sinner, V now resolves to save as many sinners as humanly possible. First step? Invite all of the local panhandlers, petty criminals, con artists, alcoholics, single mothers, and homeless lepers to live with her at Don Jaime’s estate. “She has a heart of gold,” remarks one down-and-out-er. “Yes, but she’s a little nutty,” replies another.

“Men and women will sleep in separate dormitories,” announces the well-meaning but tragically deluded Viridiana, committing the classic do-gooder mistake of trying to dictate morality to the recipients of social services.

Also arriving at the estate: Don Jaime’s slick, upwardly-mobile bastard son (Jorge) and his prim, skeptical girlfriend (Lucia). Culture clash dead ahead!

The trouble starts almost immediately. Moncho the farmhand threatens to punch any of the vagrants if they stick their noses where they don’t belong, and the blind guy smacks Moncho with his cane. Rita contemptuously tells one bum that he can “sleep with the chickens.” A man hobbling along with a single crutch decides that the free room and board isn’t worth the loss of dignity. “I’m sick of all this piety,” he proclaims proudly. Before he limps off in a huff, though, he asks V if she has any spare change.

Meanwhile… “She’s crazy,” says Lucia (talking about Viridiana). “Not crazy,” counters Jorge. “Rotten with piety.”

Ramona the maid has transferred her unrequited crush from (deceased) Don Jaime to his (still alive) bastard son. The result: furtive glances and spilled soup.

The poor folk are swapping crude insults, throwing bread, complaining that the beans are “too acidic,” and generally behaving in an uncivilized manner. You know, because they’re poor.

“Now for good news,” Viridiana announces to her uncouth houseguests. “Starting tomorrow, everyone will have work… to occupy you and give you some exercise!” Hooray!

Surprisingly, the ungrateful beggars don’t seem very excited about the prospect of indentured servitude. “Everyone in bed by 8:00,” Viridiana proclaims cheerfully, before returning to the nice part of the house. After she leaves, the paupers kick out one of their number on suspicion of undisclosed leprosy. One of the men uses Rita’s jump-rope as a belt.

Back in the world of rich people, Jorge confronts Viridiana in her bedroom. Now that he’s the Lord of the Manor, he wants to make some changes. Installing that modern electricity that everyone’s talking about, for one thing. And why is that farm land not being profit-maximized? And, say… you are one sexy lady.

On the next day, the poor folk bicker, chew tobacco, and find various ways to tattle on each other to Viridiana. Jorge starts measuring the place for his planned renovations, and complains about his family lands being overrun with vagrants. “You should let me kick them out,” he tells V, but she won’t have it.

Lucia, wise to Jorge’s attraction to his (sorta) cousin, decides to leave. Jorge, taking stock of his father’s personal effects, marvels over a beautiful golden cross… which doubles as a knife. Symbolism? You bet.

Radiantly pious Viridiana leads the poor folk in the call-and-response Angelus service, while Jorge’s construction workers dump loads of rocks and mix vats of cement. Moncho, disgusted by all the disorienting changes, departs for greener pastures. Jorge and Ramona have a quick knee-trembler in the rat-infested attic.

All the rich folk head into town for a meeting with the lawyers. Left to their own devices, the paupers run amok, slaughtering some lambs for a feast, neglecting their chores, and breaking into the main house. Tobacco is stolen, wine is spilled, and the house is quickly transformed into a bacchanalian disaster area. Someone produces a camera, and the poor folk pose for a souvenir picture.

Lined up behind the table like that, they resemble a famous painting. If I could only remember which one…

The leper puts on the bridal dress and cranks up the Hallelujah Chorus on the gramophone. The filthy and thoroughly soused vagrants begin to dance, toss plates of custard at each other, and fornicate behind the couch. The blind guy takes a cane to the glassware as the rich folk return from the lawyer.

“It’s every man for himself now,” says one disheveled houseguest, just before he flees into the night.

“Blessed are they who gave shelter to a helpless blind man,” says the blind guy, shuffling past with the tattered remnants of a bridal veil stuck to his shoe. “May God reward them.” The leper and the jump-rope-wearing petty crook beat Jorge unconscious and tie him up. Jump-Rope-Belt-Guy tries to rape Viridiana, but then Jorge tricks Leper into killing Jump-Rope-Belt-Guy with a fireplace shovel, and then the cops arrive.

The rich folks set about cleaning up the house. Apparently grateful to Jorge for saving her, Viridiana lets her hair down and visits Jorge in his room.

vd_hairdown

She is surprised to find him with Ramona. “We were just playing cards,” explains Jorge, and then says something amazing: “All cats are gray at night.” Amazing because I’ve only ever heard that expression once before, in Valley of the Dolls. For months after watching Dolls, I went around using the expression, because it was so terse and inexplicable. I always assumed it was just a poorly-written bit of dialogue that was intended to be clever. But apparently it’s like an official thing that non-Valley-of-the-Dolls people actually say.

Jorge, Viridiana, and Ramona are playing cards, in an obvious prelude to hot three-way cousin-on-cousin/master-and-servant action.

There is tension. Some kind of groovy Arnold’s-Drive-In-from-Happy-Days rock ‘n’ roll plays on the gramophone:

I love her and she loves me
We’re gonna shake ‘til after three
Shake, shake me doll, shake
Shake, shake me doll, shake
Shake, shake me doll, shake
Shake your cares away
Shake your cares away
Shake your cares away

What I Liked

The fluid, elegant b/w cinematography was gorgeous.

All of the acting was excellent, but the motley crew they assembled to play the paupers and miscreants were hilariously crude and stole every scene in which they appeared.

The use of Handel’s Messiah as ironic counterpoint was arguably heavy-handed, but I found it very funny and effective.

Both Silvia Pinal (Viridiana) and Margarita Lozano (Ramona) were beautiful and magnetic.

Ham-fisted though its symbolism may be, I found Viridiana to be so scurrilously funny, so gleefully sacrilegious, that I gave Buñuel a pass.

What I Didn’t Like So Much

The script becomes scattershot at times. There are so many odd little details, narrative dead-ends, and odd bits of business that I occasionally wondered what, exactly, Buñuel was trying to say.

Although Buñuel was renowned as a leftist and an atheist, I found myself wondering whose agenda was ultimately served by Viridiana. If we are to believe that attempts to help the disadvantaged can only lead to disaster, that no good deed goes unpunished, I guess that would be a good excuse to do nothing. That’s certainly how Bosley Crowther and other critics have read the film.

Should You See It?

Viridiana is definitely one of the more philosophically challenging films we’ve watched in the series. As such, it’s an excellent jumping-off point for some after-film conversation (add alcohol to taste).

It’s also a gorgeously-composed film to look at.

Above all, I recommend Viridiana because it’s a prime example of the aesthetically formal, yet perversely funny, accessible and entertaining brand of social satire which Buñuel perfected. It’s FUN.

Next: The Wages of Fear

4 Comments

  1. One note I forgot to add in the article: Apparently, the film originally ended with V arriving at douchebag’s door, hair down, obviously looking for hot cousin-on-cousin action. The censors disapproved, so Bunuel tacked on the ending with the three of them sitting down together, looking at each other nervously, and douchebag awkwardly saying, “yes, we’re all just playing cards…” (or whatever it is he says). So the ending as it stands is a bit of a flipped bird to the censors, which makes it funnier.

  2. Jason–

    Entirely agree and consider myself corrected. Having read your commentary/critique I now realize the error(s) of my ways.

    The fact that the Son does NOT bed the blond is another twist in the tale…and I’m glad they don’t “do it.” But, yes, it looks like some shenanigans would be taking place the moment Annette Funnicello stops singing that stupid song at the end.

  3. Two minor quibbles:

    1) I THINK ViniViciVidiriana returns to the estate mostly because the police order her to do so. First, they probably want to question her. Second, Don Pervo left part of his estate to her, so there’s paperwork to be filled out.

    2) Although the douchebag son is certainly jonesing for V, and the ending definitely implies that they will be “splitting the sheets” soon… I don’t BELIEVE they actually split the sheets during the course of the film.

    Belle de Jour and Diary of a Chambermaid also have a high titillation factor, but without ever actually showing you much of anything. Bunuel has a well-developed sense of the humor in the perverse.

  4. In screenwriting and, thus, in film – there is such a thing called a reversal. It is a way for the writer to change the story in a way to create conflict and move the story in a different direction. Some screenwriters believe that ANY thing you do to a script that takes the hero off the “chosen path” is a reversal, even if the hero ends up where you assumed in the first place. I think differently. My take is anything that turns the story around to a “huh?” moment. There are two films off the top of my head that fit this: “Psycho” and “Million Dollar Baby.”

    In the film “Psycho” you follow Janet Leigh and then BOOM! She’s dead. In the film “Million Dollar Baby” (BIG SPOILER HERE, SKIP DOWN TO THE END OF THE PARAGRAPH IF YOU DON’T WANT TO KNOW) – the film-makers set up a version of “Chick Rocky” only, half-way through, turn it into a film about the right to live or die – didn’t see that one coming did you? (SPOILER OVER, YOU CAN CONTINUE READING)

    A good example of the “passive” reversal (the one I don’t agree with) is you have a story about a guy who wants to go to a store and get milk. He stops at Home Depot, though, and buys some screws. He leaves to go to the store, and then he stops at the Post Office and buys some stamps. Golly, he doesn’t have enough money, so he goes to the ATM and gets some cash but then, eventually, he shows up at the store to get milk. It doesn’t change the story so much as the story throws in a few bumps. A good example of the stronger reversal is that he goes to get milk, gets abducted by aliens, fights for the federation, becomes a hero, dies in the arms of a beautiful 8 breasted alien woman. Did he get the milk? NO F**CKIN’ WAY! THAT’S a reversal.

    Why do I go into all this? Well, lets look at our film today: “Viridiannananana” (forgot to write down the actual title and too lazy to change it now). Whenever you tell (or listen) to a story – the person you’re telling the story to usually tries to anticipate where the story is going. It’s like telling a joke. If you tell someone you’ve got a joke, the person listening is always going to think the same things: 1. Have I heard this joke before? 2. I bet I can guess the punch line. Sure, you would like the listener to be a blank slate – but in this day and age, it doesn’t really happen (unless you’re telling the joke to a four year-old). NOTE: It’s usually the most obscure but logical punch-line that gets the biggest laugh.

    Now, this is all human nature. And it’s the same with films. After you’ve sat in your seat and glued your eyes to the screen, there’s a natural tendency to think in your head: “Hmmm, I wonder where this story is headed. I bet that he’s going to hook up with her. I wonder if she’s going to be naked at some point in this film. I bet he’s going to die a horrible death.” And, sadly, with more an more previews showing MORE AND MORE of the film, this practice gets more wide spread: “Wait, in the preview I saw… And there’s that point in the preview where… Oh, here’s that scene in the preview…” And, sadly, this even goes to the POSTER. Where not only is there some sort of photo on the poster maybe showing part of the film (girl’s red coat in the poster of “Schindler’s List”) that is significant or even the box around the rating that now says things like: “Pervasive language throughout, strong sexual content, nudity.” If I read that and then hunker down in my $10 seat I’m thinking: “Okay, matey, where’s my pervasive language throughout? Where’s my strong sexual content? Where’s my nudity?” Did you notice those things are more selling points now then they are a warning? I’m waiting to see a film that didn’t live up to the “ratings box” and go out and complain to the box office: “You know, the ratings box said: nudity. I don’t think one breast and a man’s buttocks could really be considered nudity. Maybe PARTIAL nudity, but not nudity. When you’ve got a ratings box that says NUDITY, I expect NUDITY!! Gimmee my money back.”

    Okay, enough of my musings. Back to “Viridanabananarama”

    “Virdi” as I’ll call her is a nun. Well, not a nun YET. She’s JUST ABOUT to take her final vows and get the “I’m Still A Virgin” merit badge and learn the secret handshake and all those things when her uncle writes (begs) that she come and hang out on the farm for a few days. She’s hesitant. Hasn’t seen him in a while, thinks he’s kind of creepy, or something but the Mother Superior suggests she go hang out. And who is to deny the MS? Besides, the Uncle is dying and he won’t be around much longer.

    She arrives and I’m thinking: “Okay, cool, here’s where the story is going…She’s going to show up and revitalize the old guy. The house will become alive again with love and faith and it’s “Sound of f**king Music” without the kids…” It will be a sweet story about love and forgiveness and she’ll return to the convent all ready to take the vows and move forward….

    BUT WAIT!! Reversal ahead.

    The house is in disrepair. It’s all falling apart and the Uncle lives there with his servants who live in servants’ quarters and he’s “dying” which means he looks and acts JUST FINE. He’s not bed-ridden, he doesn’t have a hacking cough, he doesn’t stumble around in a delirious state. Nope. He’s as fine as a spring day.

    Virdi makes herself to home with her icons and crowns of thorns and prayer mats, etc. and when she finally takes off all her “nunnery” she’s one hot tamale (which, of course, means she ain’t going into the convent, no way, no how).

    There’s some discussion about the Uncle’s estranged son, and some discussion about a little girl who jumps rope, and there’s some talk of the Uncle’s wife who died or something and then creepy uncle starts putting the moves on his niece (after wearing his ex-wife’s shoes and attempting to put on a girdle) – DIDN’T SEE THAT ONE COMIN’ DIDJA?

    The Uncle begs her to marry him, drugs her espresso, puts the moves on her while she’s passed out and then tells her she’s no longer a virgin. Though he didn’t actually “deflower” her (the maid even checks the sheets).

    Virdi is freaked out! Who wouldn’t? So she does the sensible thing and heads to the bus to go home where, I assume, she’ll struggle with what happened. With the questions she’s got about faith and family and why would God allow this to happen, but still take her vows when…, just as she’s about to leave, the police show up. She needs to come back to the estate.

    “Dying” Uncle is actually dead. By his own hand. With the jump rope. DIDN’T SEE THAT ONE COMIN’ DIDJA?

    Instead of doing the logical thing (like going back to the convent) she decides to stay on the farm and kick it back into gear using the local homeless, sick and blind. (Oh! I know where this story is going now! She’s going to have them all turn the house into a beautiful estate. She’ll bring them all to God. They’ll all live happily ever after. And this happens…for a little while…)

    But, wait, who’s that at the door? It’s the estranged son. One of those suave Italian men who only have to blow smoke rings and women flock to them – AND THEY KNOW IT! And he shows up with a gal he’s SLEEPING WITH – he’s not married to her. SCANDAL! DIDN’T SEE THAT ONE COMIN’ DIDJA?
    (Okay, I kinda saw that one coming.)

    But, you know, it’s just a matter of time before he and Virdi are splitting the sheets what with her “am I still a virgin or am I not?” going through her head.

    The homeless, sick and blind all start helping out around the estate and Virdi says prayers with them and helps them, and lets them sleep and eat in the servants quarters and it’s all going swell (I’m surprised she didn’t burst into song).

    But what of Mr. Corinthian Leather? Well, he’s putting the moves on the maid, Ramona (DIDN’T SEE THAT ONE COMIN’ DIDJA?) after his girlfriend leaves – assuming he’s going to be all over Virdi like fuzz on a peach.

    Still, there are some estate things that need to be worked out – so they have to travel to the big city for a day or so and everyone leaves (including Ramona and the jump-roping obsessed daughter)! DIDN’T SEE THAT ONE COMIN’ DIDJA?

    With the royalty gone, what should the rabble do? But break into the house and have one of those parties that would fit perfectly well in an 80’s John Hughes comedy (except for the hallelujah chorus and the overt religious symbolism). And party they do! The wine flows, the food gets eaten, the fine linens get splashed, sex(!) happens, there’s a moment when they all sit at the table like Christ at the last supper so that one of the gals can “take their picture” – instead she flashes them her yahoo – see JUST LIKE AN 80’S JOHN HUGHES COMEDY! DIDN’T SEE THAT ONE COMIN’ DIDJA? (okay, I’ll stop.)

    As the party gets worse and worse, just like an 80’s John Hughes comedy, the family comes home. The JIG IS UP! And the next thing you know, Mr. Suavy Suave is tied up and Virdi is thrown on the bed to be raped. At least, at this point, Mr. Smoke Rings convinces one of the homeless to bludgeon the rapist to death. Cops show up. DIDN’T SEE…sorry…

    Cut to the morning (or the next day, or the next evening). WAS Virdi raped? Did Mr. Cool Italian Stud come to her rescue, take her in his arms and protect her? We don’t know because, again, we cut to morning (or the next day, or the next evening).

    Yes, Virdi is traumatized, but Mr. Cool shows some compassion and while an absolutely stupid 60’s tune plays he invites her to stay with him and Ramona for what I can only assume is the beginning of Mr. Curly Chest Hair’s harem.

    FIN!

    (Oh, and there’s a quick shot of the girl tossing Virdi’s “crown of thorns” into a fire and pulling it out and letting it burn outside the pit. Representative of, I think, Virdi’s loss of faith? Her burning desire for some real lovin’?)

    WHAT I LIKED:

    ***Ponder*** I thought that this film bordered on the 60’s sexploitation films that played in drive-ins around the country. You know, films with titles like: “Kissin’ Cuzin’s!” and “Agent 69!” If the film actually sprinkled in nudity and took out all the religious symbolism it would probably have had a long run at the Sno-King Drive in.

    I really DID like the twists and turns to the story. It kept me hopping and kept me intrigued. The acting was passable and the creepiness of the uncle I found both disturbing and hilarious.

    There were a number of moments that were very funny though in a cringe inducing way (Isn’t it funny how they make fun of the leporsy guy? Isn’t it funny how they’re trashing the house?)

    Actress playing Virdi…very attractive.

    WHAT I DIDN’T LIKE:

    Well…there’s the whole: “I’m a handsome stud here to have sex with you all and protect you from all the bad people – like all them homeless scum you let in.” The fact that there were few people with any sort of redeeming quality (even the maid drugs her drink) left me thinking I’d rather spend time doing something else.

    As I noted above, the religious symbolism seemed to run a bit rampant (and I probably missed some other moments).

    Broken record moment: I’m SICK AND TIRED of DUBBED SOUND! Throughout the film it sounds like they’re talking in an echoy studio saying their lines – which, of course, they are.

    BOTTOM LINE:

    This is a curious film. It certainly did not go the direction(s) I assumed it would go – which is a good thing – but I feel that the film was just this side of two breasts and a bare buttocks from being just another exploitation film that doesn’t add up to a whole lot – other than being titillating.

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