Friday, January 4, 2013

Tristana (1970)

WHO: Luis Buñuel directing Fernando Rey, Catherine Deneuve and Franco Nero (the latter two pictured above.)
WHAT: Tristana was at one time widely considered one of Buñuel's greatest masterworks, and therefore one of the great films of all time. According to the 1980 edition of Film Facts, it came in at #8 in the results of a 1975 "all-time favorite films" poll held by the Association of French Film Critics, just between Roberto Rossellini's Paisan and Josef Von Sternberg's The Scarlet Empress. (#1 was Antonioni's L'Avventura). At some point along the way, Tristana became, at least in the United States, eclipsed in reputation by other Buñuel films, particularly some of the ones made widely available on DVD through Criterion. Whether availability is the chicken or the egg to reputation I can't determine, especially without ever having seen the title in question myself. I'm pretty sure it hasn't screened in a local cinema once in the dozen or so years I've been keeping my eye our for Buñuel showings, and it hasn't been available on home video in this country since the LaserDisc days.
WHERE/WHEN: Three to five shows daily at the Opera Plaza Cinema, in a week-long run starting today.
WHY: Quentin Tarantino fever has revived interest in Sergio Corbucci's 1966 film Django, starring Franco Nero in the title role. It will screen digitally at the Castro January 18th if you missed its recent run at the Elmwood. If Nero's involvement in Tristana helped secure a week-long theatrical engagement of a Buñuel movie in anticipation of its upcoming Blu-Ray DVD release, then Tarantino's new film has to be seen as an ultimate good for movie culture, no matter whether you line up closer to Odie Henderson or Steven Boone or to Spike Lee or Laura Washington when it comes to the merits of the film itself. Nero also appears in Corbucci's The Mercenary, which the Pacific Film Archive brings to town later this month as part of a nakedly-Tarantino-inspired series of Spaghetti Westerns. As for Django Unchained, it's still playing at various Frisco Bay theatres. If you want to see it on 35mm film you might try the 4-Star, though I also suspect it will appear in this form at the Castro in the near-ish future, at least if the final minutes of this interview can be used as a premonition.
HOW: I'm told this will be a digital presentation; presumably sourced from a Blu-Ray.


  1. 2 Tristana tidbits:
    1. I was told by a film friend,Jim Mueller, that the original European Tristana ran longer than what was released here. According to the AFI the Tristana I saw in the fall of 1970 in Boston ran 95 minutes,from 105 minutes. Landmark's site lists 98 minutes. I haven't researched
    what was cut, Does anyone know?Too bad this new one couldn't, as say with Rialto's Wages Of Fear, restore the whole thing.
    2. Tristana is one of the few adaptations of the great 19th century novelist Galdos, who is considered Spain's equivalent of Balzac or Dickens. Bunuel previously did his Nazarin. I have a number of his hard to find works in translation The long Fortunata Y Jacinta is a masterpiece.

  2. Thanks for the information, Larry! I don't think I knew about any of this.

  3. Found subsequently there are a few
    more films of Galdos than I realized and that Viridiana is also from this author