by guest writer
Viridiana marked the first Spanish project for Luis Buñuel in 24 years. The homeland authorities approved the screenplay with a few minor changes, but did not have the chance to preview the final cut before it premiered in Cannes (the film won the Palme d’Or in 1961). As an immediate consequence, the film was banned in Spain for many years to come. Using his imaginative screenplay skills, Buñuel created a work of art that perfectly describes the human recklessness and comedy of life.
Before taking her final nun vows, Viridiana (Silvia Pinal) is invited to her uncle’s farm to spend a few days. Psychologically troubled, Don Jaime (Fernando Rey) sees in his niece his late wife due to the striking resemblance. This was the reason why he has tried during the years to help Viridiana financially. Tragedy unfolds and the soon-to-be nun sees herself obliged to share her uncle’s fortune with his cynical son whom she had never met before. Out of kindness, Viridiana wants to offer a chance for a better life to a sinister band of beggars and thieves, providing them with shelter and food and trying to morally educate them. Her gesture becomes one of the most unrewarding gestures in the history of cinema.