Luis Buñuel Geoffrey Nowell-Smith - Essay

Geoffrey Nowell-Smith

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

At first sight (and with hindsight too, as the films have reached us in the wrong order), Nazarin … looks simply like a more ambiguous version of Viridiana. (p. 194)

The ambiguity lies in the fact that Buñuel refuses either to approve or condemn his hero, with the result that the film can be read in two different ways. Either we must take in that Nazarin is a fool and his saintliness futile and absurd, or else that his perseverance in the face of adversity is a living proof that faith is its own justification and reward, and the things of the spirit better and stronger than those of the flesh. Taken singly neither of these readings is satisfactory…. [If] Nazarin is to be condemned,...

(The entire section is 548 words.)