|Country of production||Mexico , Spain|
|Age rating||FSK 18|
Benito Pérez Galdós
|camera||José F. Aguayo|
|cut||Pedro del Rey|
Shortly before she was accepted into the order, the novice Viridiana was urged to visit her uncle, the landowner Don Jaime, again. The latter had provided financial support for her, but had never looked after her personally.
Don Jaime finds that Viridiana looks astonishingly similar to his wife, who died on her wedding night decades ago. He tries to persuade Viridiana to stay longer, but she insists on returning to the monastery soon.
On the last evening, Don Jaime asks Viridiana to put on his deceased wife's wedding dress, which Viridiana does. That evening Don Jaime confesses his love to Viridiana and asks her to become his wife and stay with him forever, but Viridiana's fierce defense leaves no doubt that this proposal is hopeless. With the help of the housekeeper Ramona, Don Jaime stuns her and carries her to bed. The next morning he claims to have raped her, presumably in the hope that Viridiana would no longer consider herself suitable as the bride of Christ due to the alleged loss of her virginity and would thus become accessible again for him. Viridiana, however, insists on her immediate departure. When she is about to get on the bus, the police fetch her back: Don Jaime has hanged himself from a fruit tree in the garden of the estate.
His will names Viridiana and Don Jaime's illegitimate son Jorge as heirs of the estate. While Jorge, whom the already established relationship with Lucia, who has traveled with him, doesn’t prevent from keeping an eye on Viridiana, tries to renovate the estate, which has run down over the decades, Viridiana devotes herself to caring for the poor. She accommodates a group of beggars in an outbuilding and provides them with essentials.
When the homeowners travel to a distant city to attend a notary, the beggars take the opportunity to hold a feast in the house, causing some havoc and finally being surprised by the homeowners who return early. One of the beggars knocks Jorge down, another tries to rape Viridiana. The police, called by the housemaid Ramona, can prevent worse.
In the final scene, Viridiana joins in when Jorge is making undisguised advances to the servant Ramona. He explains to Viridiana that they are only playing cards and invites them to a game. And so in the last shot you see Viridiana, Ramona and Jorge playing cards together.
The film contrasts Catholic piety and morality with the reality that is not always compatible with it. For example, Viridiana's religious zeal goes so far that she carries a crown of thorns with her in her luggage, but she is unable to understand the emotional state of her uncle. She gives the beggars a lot of attention and often prays with them, but she cannot foresee that one day their wishes will go beyond good words, bread and prayer.
The final scene was originally supposed to only show Viridiana and Jorge playing cards, but the official Spanish moralists found this too intimate and therefore offensive, so they decided to have a third person at the table. The censors missed the fact that a ménage à trois was now suggested, because after all Jorge had only used the card game in front of Viridiana as an excuse (so as not to have to admit his advances to Ramona) and thus (for this scene) it became a metaphor for erotic Let actions become.
In the German distribution version, the film was cut by around eleven minutes after intervention by Catholic film experts. Touching a cow's udder by the novice and burning the crown of thorns were removed.
“Social and religious critical film of great formal and thematic power, with which Buñuel puts sacred Christian endeavors to the test by the equally radical confrontation with immorality, malice and social misery. The polemics against the Christian message, expressed in numerous shady symbols, are of course not easy to decipher. "
“A socially critical film that uses the example of a nun who escaped from the monastery to show how even the best-intentioned action can be doomed to failure. A film full of harsh, but not loveless or even corrosive criticism. Recommended for adults to think about and, if possible, also for discussion in church circles. "
- Luis Buñuel: My last sigh. Athenaeum. 1983, ISBN 3-7610-8266-5 . New edition: Alexander Vlg. 2004, ISBN 3-89581-112-2 .
- Gabriele Jatho, Rainer Rother (ed.): Luis Buñuel. Essays, dates, documents. Edited by the Deutsche Kinemathek , Bertz-Fischer, Göttingen 2008. ISBN 3-86505-183-9 .
- Jürgen Heizmann: Blasphemy in the cinema. The scandals surrounding VIRIDIANA, THE GESPENST and PARADISE: BELIEVE. In: Hans Richard Brittnacher, Thomas Koebner (Ed.): Blasphemy and criticism of faith in literature and in the arts. Marburg 2016, ISBN 978-3-89472-712-3 , pp. 138-161.
- Viridiana in the Internet Movie Database (English)
- Review in the film headquarters
- "The Trojan Lap Dog" - article by Roman Urbaner on Telepolis
- “Luis Buñuel” ( Memento from June 16, 2008 in the Internet Archive ) - retrospective at the Berlinale
- "The premonition and the brief happiness of the general film director - May 18, 1961, when Viridiana received the Golden Palm from Cannes from Luis Buñuel" - Article by Christiane Habermalz in the NZZ on May 13, 2006
- Buñuel: My last sigh. P. 228f.
- F.-B. Habel: Cut up films. Censorship in the film . Gustav Kiepenheuer Verlag, Leipzig 2003, ISBN 3-37801069-X , p. 103 f.
- Viridiana. In: Lexicon of International Films . Film service , accessed March 2, 2017 .
- Published by the Evangelical Press Association in Munich, Critique No. 231/1962