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11 JULY 2014

The Phantom of Liberty: humorous critique of bourgeois conventions

"Luis Buñuel'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 Buñuel 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, Buñuel depicts how one of Napoleon's captains tries to defile the monument of Doña 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

1974absurd situationsabsurdist humourabsurdity • 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 • comedycomedy of mannerscorpsecritiquecultural conventionscultural pastdaughterdining practicesdinner tabledisappearancedoctor • 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 • policepolite societypostcard • postman • psychoanalysisritual • rooster • rulesschool • schoolchildren • Serge Silberman • sexual hang-ups • sexual taboo • sight gag • sketch comedy • sniper • social behavioursocial conventionsSpanish filmsubconscioussurrealist cinemasurrealist filmmakertaboo • That Obscure Object of Desire (1977) • The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie (1972) • The Phantom of Liberty (1974) • The Third of May (1808) • toilettriptych • vanished • visual gagzoo

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
17 MARCH 2013

Finland's school system accomplishes some impressive feats: so what makes Finnish students so successful?

"Students get plenty of teacher interaction: Finland and New York City have the same number of teachers. But Finland has nearly half the number of students. Standardized testing is kept to a minimum: before a New York student reaches high school, he or she will have taken 10 standardized tests. Collectively, US students take 100 million standardized tests a year. Finland's only standardized test is taken when students are 16 years old. Kids have more time to be kids: an average us 5th grader has 50 minimum of homework per day. Finnish students rarely do homework until their teens. And while us elementary students average 27 minutes of recess students in Finland get about 75 minutes a day). Finland knows good teachers are essential: teachers in Finland are all required to have a Master's degree (which is fully subsidized by the state)."

(OnlineClasses.org, 21 January 2013)

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CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
26 SEPTEMBER 2012

UK GLAD Conference 2013: Start, sustain, succeed - art and design education in the new policy landscape

Date: 24 Apr 2013; Location/venue: University for the Creative Arts Epsom Ashley Road, Epsom, Surrey , England, KT18 5BE

"The Group for Learning in Art and Design (GLAD) will be holding their 2013 annual conference on 24 April 2013 and is calling for case studies and research papers that explore three areas that are likely to change the future of English art and design higher education.

1. Starting. Changes to the school art and design curriculum and how the new English Baccalaureate and the demands it places on school timetables might crowd out of the curriculum offer in the arts. How we might engage to redress this? Speaker/s from the school sector.

2. Sustaining. How we should evolve our working with students to support their learning and to address the data–led climate for student choice? Speaker/s from institutions that have improved their student experience data and are engaging with students in innovative ways.

3. Succeeding. What are institutions doing to support employability? Case studies from graduates highlighting what was useful to them in securing employment, plus speaker/s from creative careers professionals.

We are looking for responses to these questions and themes, with contributors offering the conference presentations/papers/discussions typically of 20 minutes duration."

(UK Higher Education Academy)

TAGS

2013 • annual conference • art and design • art and design curriculum • art and design educationart and design higher educationcase studiesconferenceconference paperconference presentation • creative careers • creative careers professionals • curriculumdata-driven • data-led • data-led climate • design educationemployabilityEnglish Baccalaureate • GLAD (acronym) • Group for Learning in Art and Design • Higher Education Academy • new policy landscape • pedagogyschool • schools sector • securing employment • student choice • student experience data • support learning • teachingthe artsUKUniversity for the Creative Arts • working with students

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
04 APRIL 2012

Rare Archival Footage of Marshall McLuhan

"This rare archival footage of McLuhan speaking to an ABC journalist on his visit to Australia was recorded on 19 June 1977 in Sydney.

ABC Archive notes: 'Canadian expert on electronic media, Marshall McLuhan, arrives in Australia to address a seminar on Australian radio. He advocates shortening of TV transmission time and better balance between TV, radio and press. McLuhan speaks about the effect of TV on children.'

From other sources we know that he was brought to Australia by Sydney radio station 2SM.

Sadly no record of the interviewer has been kept, though we think she has a New Zealand accent."

(ABC Radio National, Australia)

Fig.1 This rare archival footage of McLuhan speaking to an ABC [Australian Broadcasting Corporation] journalist on his visit to Australia was recorded on 19 June 1977 in Sydney.

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CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
29 DECEMBER 2010

Ken Robinson: Changing education paradigms

"In this talk from RSA Animate, Sir Ken Robinson lays out the link between 3 troubling trends: rising drop–out rates, schools' dwindling stake in the arts, and ADHD. An important, timely talk for parents and teachers."

(RSA Animate, Filmed October 2010)

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CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
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