L’AGE D’FAG NOIRE
“While L’Age d’or perfectly illustrates the
political dimension described by Breton
in the Second Surrealist Manifesto, it
embodies in the form of the passionate
lovers the earlier Manifesto of Surrealism’s
emphasis on the role of instinct “free from
all control exercised by reason, without
regard to any aesthetic or moral concern.”
—Gwynne Edwards, A Companion to Luis Buñuel
Fag amour fou is a terrible thing—it can be just as neurotic, tortuous and heartbreaking as the compulsive heterosexual str8t version of the same thing.
Even worse though—since fag amour fou has been up-until-lately a completely forbidden, unacceptable American lifestyle. Yet still an ever-present hidden undercurrent Undertow of the Unconscious.
While fags in the Caribbean, the Mediterranean and ancient islands like Capri and Taormina—the people there, the wealthy aristocratic visitors, even the tired decadent jaded Roman emperors like Tiberius have simply shrugged and said “Who cares?” for centuries.
As trashy bitchy Parker Tyler in his “Screening the Sexes: Homosexuality in the Movies” says—one doesn’t need a beautiful sexy Elizabeth Taylor “fag hag”—for fags like Sebastian Venable to get what they want. Young tricks—Spanish, Italian, everywhere in the Third World—fall out of the sky like sparrows only too ready to do anything for a peso, lira or lousy dollar bill.
Just ask Baron von Gloeden, Norman Douglas, Andre Gide, Oscar Wilde, Lord Bosie, Graham Greene—or any of all the other queens returning from all those ocean cruises on various swank modern versions of the queer Queen Mary.
And they’ll all say the same thing—the same thing that Mrs. Stone said during those lovely Roman Spring days of her young Italian hustler infatuations. Thanks to her pimp procurer—Lotte Lenya the Contessa of Cock.
Fag amour fou is nothing new—it’s surely as old as the Garden of Eden. Who among us, my dears, hasn’t been tempted and afflicted with fag amour fou—somewhere sometime at one time or another in our lives? Having had to live our lives in a buttoned-up, closeted world—of so-called perverted homoerotic passion? Did it really make any difference—once fag amour fou grabbed you by the balls? Hardly, my dear.
Finding ourselves caught up in queer love’s amour fou—ending up in heaven and hell being dominated and ruled by a secret passion’s forbidden pleasures, dirty denigrations, and despicable jealousies?
Any celebration of fag amour fou, the wild passion championed by the surrealists, however—has been usually defeated by the str8t world’s insidious constantly negating bourgeois restraints. Even more so with the boomerang guilt and fears of queer amour fou—the anxiety and self-imposed restraints that the str8t bourgeoisie have historically imprisoned themselves and all of us fag inmates for quite some time now.
Buñuel, however, back in Paris in the Twenties, championed amour fou—both gay and str8t. Having had relationships with Lorca and Dali—even tho he later pooh-poohed or denied it—fag amour fou opened up his surrealist filmmaking aggression with filming amour fou in both "Un Chien andalou” and “L’Age d’or.”
By the time “L’Age d’or” made it startling premier—Breton in his “Second Manifesto” had suggested that the psychical or psycho-neurotic material of automatic writing synonymous with the previous stage of Surrealism no longer was enough. The movement needed a larger conceptual stance—such as Buñuel’s structure of “L’Age d’or” rather than the automatic scriptwriting used in “Un Chien andalou.”
This was Buñuel and Dali’s method that they had streamlined and used in automatically writing the script for “Un Chien andalou”:
“Our only rule was very simple: no idea or image or image that might lend itself to a rational explanation of any kind would be accepted. We had to open all doors to the irrational and keep only those images that surprised us, without trying to explain why”
“While L’Age d’or perfectly illustrates the political dimension described by Breton in the Second Surrealist Manifesto, even with its seemingly more organized filmic structure, “L’Age d’or" still had a great deal of the mad amour fou that had earlier characterized “Un Chien andalou.”
Oblivious to all social and moral impediments, the two young people live for each other. When they are set upon by the enraged onlookers and dragged away, their physical separation cannot obliterate their thoughts or feelings for each other.
The young man sees his beloved everywhere in advertisements for hand cream and silk stockings, and in the portrait of a girl in a window. And when she sits in front of a mirror in her bedroom, she sees not her own reflected image but a beautiful sky and passing clouds, the image of her romantic thoughts.