On 18 May, the 60th anniversary of the awarding of the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival to Luis Buñuel’s “Viridiana” will be celebrated with a meeting at the headquarters of Academia del Cine (Academy of Cinematographic Arts and Sciences of Spain). The screening of the film will be followed by a discussion with Pedro del Rey and Pere Portabella, the film’s editor and producer respectively, moderated by Guillermo Chapa.
Buñuel’s film arrived at Cannes only three days after it had finished sound recording. It was screened on the last day of the festival and the jury decided to award it the top prize. It is still the only Spanish film to have won it.
Buñuel did not travel to Cannes and the Palme d’Or was collected by the then Director of Cinematography of Spain, José Muñoz Fontán. The following day, an article in L’Osservatore Romano, the Vatican’s official newspaper, sparked a scandal within the Franco regime. The newspaper accused the film of blasphemy and lamented that such a film had been presented by “Catholic Spain”. Muñoz Fontán was dismissed and all official documentation of the film was ordered destroyed. “Viridiana” was banned in Spain and could not be released until a year and a half after Franco’s death.