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11 JULY 2014

The Phantom of Liberty: humorous critique of bourgeois conventions

"Luis Buņuel's The Phantom of Liberty was quickly dismissed upon its release in 1974. Not only did it have to contend with the lingering success of 1972's similarly themed but significantly less abstract The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie, but it was quickly followed by the dreamlike, bi-polar romantic entanglement of the director's last film, That Obscure Object of Desire. Like Discreet Charm, the plot-free Phantom of Liberty is a patchwork of comedic sketches and sight gags through which Buņuel ravages a complacent European culture and the various sexual hang-ups and historical and cultural disconnects of its inhabitants. This heady, almost off-putting masterwork isn't particularly easy to decipher (maybe we aren't meant to), which is why it's best to approach it as a literal comedy of manners.

Films structured around daisy chains of dysfunction are a dime a dozen; most, though, are as tiresomely long-winded as they are content with their own strained circularity. This isn't the case with Phantom of Liberty, which begins with a shot of Goya's 1808 masterpiece 'The Third of May.' The painting depicts Napoleon's army executing a group of faceless Spaniards, and via a reenactment of this struggle, Buņuel depicts how one of Napoleon's captains tries to defile the monument of Doņa Elvira only to be smacked on the head by the moving arm of the statue of the woman's husband. (He later intends to sleep with the woman's corpse, and when he opens her coffin, he's amazed by how her beauty has been preserved.) It's the first of many sight gags in the film, each and every one as startling as they are perversely funny. All these moments are possessed by a sense of shocked wonderment and discovery, and they all more or less evoke fragile pasts and characters trying to reconcile their historical detachments."

(Ed Gonzalez, 13 September 2003, Slant Magazine)

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TAGS

1974 • absurdist humour • absurdity • Adolfo Celi • Adriana Asti • Anne-Marie Deschott • apparition • Arch de Triomphe • archaic rules • Bernard Verley • black humour • bourgeois • bourgeoise societycancer • chance encounter • cigarettes • Claude Pieplu • coffin • comedic sketches • comedy • comedy of manners • corpsecritiquecultural conventionscultural pastdaughterdinner table • disappearance • doctor • Dona Elvira • eatingepisodic structureetiquetteEuropean cinema • European culture • faith • Francois Maistre • girl • Goya • Helene Perdriere • hotel • housemaid • humour • impulses • internal logic • intrusion • Jean Rochefort • Jean-Claude Brialy • Julien Bertheau • Le Fantome de la Liberte (1974) • Luis Bunuel • mailman • masterwork • Michael Lonsdale • Michel Piccoli • Milena Vukotic • Monica Vitti • Montparnasse • morality • nanny • narrative preconceptions • obscene • ostrich • parodypatchwork • Paul Frankeur • phallicphallic symbol • Philippe Brigaud • Pierre Maguelon • police • polite society • postcard • postman • psychoanalysisritual • rooster • rulesschool • schoolchildren • Serge Silberman • sexual hang-ups • sexual taboo • sight gag • sketch comedy • sniper • social behaviour • social conventions • subconscioussurrealist cinemataboo • That Obscure Object of Desire (1977) • The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie (1972) • The Phantom of Liberty (1974) • The Third of May (1808) • toilet • triptych • vanished • visual gag • zoo

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
02 OCTOBER 2011

Das Kabinett des Doktor Caligari / The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari

"The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari is the first modern Horror Film and it influence a number of contemporary productions."

Robert Wiene (1920). "Das Kabinett des Doktor Caligari / The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari".

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1920 • Cabinet of Dr. Caligari • Das Kabinett des Doktor Caligari • death-like sleep • doctorexpressionisticfilmGerman Expressionismhistory of cinema • horrible experiences • horrorhorror filminfluential worksmemorymise-en-scenemurdermysterious • Robert Wiene • scene compositionset decorsilent filmsomnambulistvisual designvisual elements

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
03 JUNE 2011

The hospital, contains the complete arsenal of modern healing, but is devoted to a radical deescalation of the medical process

"The hospital is a sequence of pavilions, each devoted to a particular disease. They are connected by a medical boulevard -a slow-moving belt that displays the sick in a continuous procession, with a group of dancing nurses in transparent uniforms, medical equipment disguised as totem poles, and rich perfumes that suppress the familiar stench of healing, in an almost festive atmosphere of operatic melodies.

Doctors select their patients from this belt, invite them to their individual pavilions, test their vitality, and almost playfully administer their (medical) knowledge. If they fail, the patient is returned to the conveyer; perhaps another doctor tries the patient, but it soon becomes apparent that the belt leads beyond the pavilions, through the cruciform building, and straight into the cemetery."

(Koolhaas, R., M. Vreisendorp, et al.)

Fig.1 - 9 Rem Koolhaas, Madelon Vreisendorp, Elia Zenghelis, and Zoe Zenghelis (1972). 'Exodus, or the voluntary prisoners of architecture'

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TAGS

1972appropriation • architectural sequence • arsenal • boulevardcemeterycollage • continuous procession • conveyer belt • cruciform • cut-outcut-out illustrationdancingdiseasedoctor • Elia Zenghelis • exodus • festive atmosphere • graphic style • healing • hospitalillustrationimaginary landscapes • Madelon Vreisendorp • medical boulevard • medical equipment • medical knowledge • medical process • melody • modern healing • nurseoperationpatientpavilionperfumephotocollageplayful • prisoners of architecture • radical deescalation • Rem Koolhaassequencespace-framespatial narrativesspeculative design • totem poles • uniform • urban speculation • vitality • Zoe Zenghelis

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
20 MARCH 2011

General Practice Notebook: an online medical encyclopaedia

"GPnotebook is a concise synopsis of the entire field of clinical medicine focussed on the needs of the General Practitioner.

The database is continually being updated by a team of authors. We take a pragmatic approach to authoring: we look out for topical issues, keep track of the journals and update material in response to user feedback.

We use a range of knowledge sources, including clinical experience, knowledge taken from literature reviews, original research articles and guidelines published by national and international bodies. In many cases references are made to sources of information; we are committed to making GPnotebook fully referenced in the near future. As a team we review each other's work but we also rely in the feedback from experts in primary care and the various clinical specialities to keep us on the right track.

Our editorial decisions are based on merit and are not influenced by any funding bodies.

We make every effort to ensure that the contents of the site are correct however we cannot be held responsible for any errors or ommissions."

(Oxbridge Solutions Ltd., UK)

TAGS

body • clinical • clinical medicinedatabasediagnosisdiseasedoctorencyclopaedia • expert knowledge • general practitioner • GP • GP Notebook • guidelineshealthhuman patientsillnessinformationinjuryknowledge baseknowledge repositorymedicalmedical practice • medical reference • medical researchnotebook • online encyclopaedia • operationpainpractitioner • prevention • primary care • prognosis • public healthreferencerepositoryresearch findingssearchsearch enginesexual healthsufferingtherapytreatmentUK

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
07 JULY 2009

10 standards to which physicians must conform when carrying out experiments on human subjects

"The judgment by the war crimes tribunal at Nuremberg laid down 10 standards to which physicians must conform when carrying out experiments on human subjects in a new code that is now accepted worldwide.

This judgment established a new standard of ethical medical behavior for the post World War II human rights era. Amongst other requirements, this document enunciates the requirement of voluntary informed consent of the human subject. The principle of voluntary informed consent protects the right of the individual to control his own body.

This code also recognizes that the risk must be weighed against the expected benefit, and that unnecessary pain and suffering must be avoided.

This code recognizes that doctors should avoid actions that injure human patients.

The principles established by this code for medical practice now have been extened into general codes of medical ethics."
(Circumcision Reference Library, 7 December 1996)

TAGS

1947bodyconductdoctor • ethical medical behaviour • ethicsGeneva conventionhuman experimentationhuman patientshuman rightshuman rights violationhuman subjectsinjuryliabilitymedical ethicsmedical practice • Nuremberg • Nuremberg Code • Nuremberg Trialspainprotectionresponsibilitysuffering • voluntary informed consent • war crimes • war crimes tribunal • World War II

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
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