In 1930, Buñuel and Dali created L’Age d’Or. It was subsequently banned.
92 years later, l'Odge d'Oor or all things with eyes must sleep arrives courtesy of writer/director Preston Miller and considering we ban most what we fail to understand I simply can't rule out that this mind-bending construct of cinematic surrealism will experience a similar fate.
Until then, I shall simply appreciate it.
I nearly said "enjoy" it, though I'm not quite sure that such a word is meant to describe this film described as a "rare and precious necklace of vignettes commenting on religion, society and humanity's place in Nature. A 'traditionally Surrealistic' tale stretching from the Garden of Eden to the present spinning tales of Krishna visiting a former lover in Brooklyn, a nudist camp that argues the Biblical ramifications of eating pork, to ancient horseshoe crabs ruminating on their deification to a performance of the "Ken Jacobs Shuffle" amidst other scenes that will ultimately leave you both a bit befuddled and incredibly immersed.
You will likely know within its opening moments if l'Odge d'Oor is a film for you, an opening scene presenting Buñuel collaborator Jean-Claude Carrière portraying God in what turned out to be his final film appearance (Carrière's, not God's just to clarify).
l'Odge d'Oor is a ‘traditionally Surrealistic,’ modern juxtaposition of the absurd, the insignificant, the existential and the profound, an un-official sequel to Luis Buñuel’s “The Phantom of Liberty.” It is likely one of the more unique films you will see in 2022, and I say that as someone who's known for an openness to viewing and reviewing a good number of experimental films this year.
For those familiar with surrealism within cinema, l'Odge d'Oor isn't that particularly experimental though it's worth noting that if you're a moviegoer who requires a point A to point B narrative this most likely isn't the film for you. If you're averse to nudity, this most likely isn't the film for you. If you find yourself unnerved by the question of what goes on in God's subsconscious then, well, you likely get the point by now.
l'Odge d'Oor is a film for the more adventurous moviegoer and those who embrace the challenge of not necessarily knowing and going along with it anyway.
Miller has assembled himself quite the gifted cast, absurdly enjoyable yet capable of wringing every moment of comedy out of every scene. I've seldom found myself so completely immersed in a film that left me hanging in a state of unknowing and I've seldom enjoyed myself so much despite there being scenes where I found myself mumbling "WTF?"
I personally find myself often believing that God's subsconscious involves a series of increasingly loud "WTF?" moments.
While Miller's ensemble cast is likely the highlight for me here, Miller's production team is equally impressive including lensing by Arsenio Assin and Sheldon Smith, inspired production design by Maddie Jones, and the precise, nuanced editing work by Krishna Kokopelli Anderson and Jodi Lin among others.
Could the reason life exists at all be that procreation feels so good?
It's a question that makes you laugh and also makes you think. It's a question brought to life with both laughter and insight in Preston Miller's l'Odge d'Oor, an homage of sorts to Buñuel that also had me more than once thinking about Todd Solondz entering the realm of experimental surrealism with his always off-kilter cinematic efforts. Beautifully acted by a strong ensemble and weaving together a cinematic tapestry that includes silent film, animation, comedy, and much more, l'Odge d'Oor may be one of the more unique cinematic experiences you'll have this year but for those who give themselves to it it will also be incredibly rewarding.
Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic