Viridiana (1961)

In Luis Buñuel’s controversial masterpiece, a novice nun gets more than she bargains for when she turns her dead uncle’s estate into a home for beggars.

Luis Buñuel returned to Spain from a long period of exile in Mexico to make Viridiana, but the result was banned by Franco’s government and denounced by the Vatican as blasphemous. It’s the story of an unworldly nun, Viridiana (Silvia Pinal), who goes to stay with her lecherous uncle (Fernando Rey), who kills himself after nearly raping her. Viridiana attempts to appease her guilt for his suicide by making his home a sanctuary for vagabonds and cripples. Ever the antagonist of religious piety, Buñuel shows the futility of Viridiana’s self-righteous efforts to tame this unruly mob.

In the film’s most famous scene, a drunken banquet freezes into a tableau resembling Leonardo Da Vinci’s Renaissance masterpiece, The Last Supper. The film won the Palme d’Or at the 1961 Cannes Film Festival.

1961 Spain, Mexico
Directed by
Luis Buñuel
Written by
Luis Buñuel, Julio Alejandro
Silvia Pinal, Francisco Rabal, Fernando Rey

Ranked in The Greatest Films of All Time poll

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