Minor social embarrassment—people start showing up for a dinner party its hosts are unaware they are throwing—turns into a genial exercise in surrealism. Buñuel, who had previously explored similar situations more dramatically, is in a good-natured, autumnal mood here (he was 72 when he made this movie). His six middle-class friends keep trying to have a nice meal together, but something—love-making, military exercises, criminal activities, even a sequence where they find themselves on stage in a play, playing themselves—keeps preventing them from breaking bread. Buñuel, abetted by his long time screenwriting partner, Jean-Claude Carrière, is a deft and casual movie magician, here grown rather fond of a class he has previously savaged on a regular basis, so he never strains for effect or big-time meaning. He just lets the fun (and the surprises) roll on. The result is sheer delight.
Next Dodsworth (1936)