VIRIDIANA
1961, Janus Films, 90 min, Spain, Dir: Luis Buñuel

One of director Luis Buñuel’s most brilliant, scandalous films was banned in his homeland of Spain and almost got him arrested in Milan. A novice nun (Silvia Pinal) finds herself corrupted by her spectacularly nefarious uncle, Fernando Rey - until she turns the tables on her tio by installing a group of beggars and lepers in his rural mansion. Buñuel gradually, mischievously weaves a web of contradictory impulses: Faith, charity and selflessness become inextricably bound up with lust, hypocrisy and greed in the schizophrenic universe of Old World Latin Catholicism. With longtime Buñuel friend Francisco Rabal. In Spanish with English subtitles.


THE DISCREET CHARM OF THE BOURGEOISIE
1972, Rialto Pictures, 102 min, France, Dir: Luis Buñuel

This later Luis Buñuel masterpiece and 1973 Best Foreign-Language Oscar winner is a return to the subversive director’s Surrealist roots and a showcase for his scrumptiously satirical wit. A sextet of upper-class friends (including Fernando Rey, Stéphane Audran, Delphine Seyrig and Jean-Pierre Cassel) attempt to dine together but are continually stalled by a streaming series of vaudevillian events, both real and dreamed. In French and Spanish with English subtitles.


THE FRENCH CONNECTION
1971, 20th Century Fox, 104 min, Dir: William Friedkin

Arguably the greatest American crime film ever made. Gene Hackman stars as Detective Popeye Doyle, who’s muscling minor hoods in NYC (the "You ever pick your feet in Poughkeepsie?" scene is still a classic) when he catches the trail of a huge shipment of French heroin. With partner Roy Scheider, Hackman dogs drug-kingpin Fernando Rey through the concrete jungle - highlighted by a brain-jangling car chase that still hasn’t been topped.


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