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The Boston Globe

Movies

Movie Review

Luis Buñuel’s ‘Tristana’ makes a welcome comeback

“Tristana,” which turns up in a restored print at the Kendall starting on Friday, isn’t top-drawer Luis Buñuel. Still, the old devil is welcome any time, in any form, especially in a movie landscape as safe and soft as ours. As much as this tale of bent love runs in the ruts of its maker’s obsessions, it has an undertow that’s impossible to shake.

Originally released in 1970, “Tristana” falls between late-’60s masterworks like “The Milky Way” and “Belle de Jour” and the final, impishly surrealist trilogy that began with 1972’s “The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie.” The plot hearkens back to 1961’s scandalous “Viridiana” and 1953’s underrated “El”: a wealthy, complacent older man tries to debauch a virginal innocent only to find the universe (i.e, Buñuel) subjecting him to perverse mind games. The change-up in “Tristana” is that the innocent ends up even more depraved than her lover.

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