Revolting cat!
Since Jul 12, 2001

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The Phantom of Liberty

The film opens on a reproduction of a painting by Goya, showing Spanish patriots being executed by Napoleon's army in May 1808. Buñuel then puts the scene on film. In a gloomy half-light, four prisoners are led out and shot. They are played by Buñuel's doctor friend José-Luis Barros, handsome, white-shirted, the echo of the central figure in the Goya painting; by José Bergamin, a Spanish poet and another friend of Buñuel's; by the film's producer Serge Silberman; and by Buñuel himself, as a monk. Before he dies, Barros steps slightly forward and shouts an enigmatic, historical phrase: "Vivan las caenas", an idiomatic pronunciation of "Vivan las cadenas", Long live chains. A French subtitle translates the cry as "A bas la liberté". It is repeated by voices off screen, and is heard again at the end of the movie, when the Paris police are dealing forcefully with a student attempt to liberate the animals in the zoo - Buñuel's glance at 1968. A copy of the Goya painting itself appears a little earlier in the office of the Prefect of Police.

"We have to change everything so that things can remain the same!" (I'll find the source as soon as I can.)