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Members Only Screenings

Sometimes a film is so captivating that you find yourself staring at the screen long after the credits have ended. When this happens to us, we immediately want to share our experience. But not with just anyone. Our Members Only screenings present these rare, neglected, or simply amazing films to our inner circle of card-carrying cinephiles.

Come join us and watch a great film, meet great people and enjoy a lively discussion immediately following the screening. This event is exclusive—envied even—so sign up for a Facets Membership today.

September 19, 2016

The Phantom of Liberty
(Le fantôme de la liberté)

Film still: The Phantom of Liberty Film still: The Phantom of Liberty
"Brilliant, anarchic... There's no single correct way to read it, which is not a rationale for its ambiguities, but a rigorous instruction to those who would enjoy all that is most marvelous and poetic in surrealism at its best"
  —New York Times
4 stars
  —Slant Magazine
4 stars "If I attempted to describe them,Buñuel's interlocking yet disconnected stores would sound bewildering. But his film is strangely lucid; it has the heightened reality of a dream. This material couldn't work if the director weren't supremely confident"
  —Roger Ebert
"Time has treated this puzzling provocation well"
  —Chicago Reader

"I see liberty as a ghost that we try to grasp," Luis Buñuel (Viridiana, Belle de Jour) said in an interview. "We embrace a misty shape that leaves us with only a wisp of vapor in our hands."

Surreal even by Buñuel standards, Phantom of Liberty is a series of Monty Pythonesque sketches which thumbs its nose at the conventions of storytelling as well as those of bourgeois society. This unpredictable chain of vignettes are linked by coincidence, whose themes are expressed in ambiguous epigrams: a Spaniard declaring "Down with liberty!" in the face of Napoleon's troops; bourgeois Jean-Claude Brialy complaining "I'm sick of symmetry" as he places a spider specimen on his elegant mantelpiece. Phantom of Liberty argues that the only way to live freely (to achieve liberty, so to speak) is to embrace the coincidences of the world not as mysteries but as naturally-occurring events. Blasphemies and waking dreams play out in an atmosphere of detachment, as Buñuel and co-writer Jean-Claude Carrière dream up dirty pictures of French architecture, poker-playing monks, celebrity snipers, fox-hunting tanks and more, setting the table for a banquet of free-wheeling satire. This penultimate film of Buñuel's career has an all-star cast, including Monica Vitti and Michel Piccoli.

Directed by Luis Buñuel, France/Italy, 1974, 104 mins. In French with English subtitles.

The screening will be preceded by a reception and followed by a discussion led by Facets Cinémathèque Film Program Director, Charles Coleman.


  • Monday, Sept. 19 at 6:30 p.m.


Facets Patron Circle Members and one guest admitted for free

There are no presale tickets—you must receive an invitation from us.

Not a member?

Join Us

The Facets Cinémathèque is located at 1517 W. Fullerton Ave. in Chicago. Call the Cinémathèque Hotline at 773.281.4114 for the latest schedule, showtimes and updates.

For all Cinémathèque inquiries, contact Charles Coleman at 773.281.9075 or

  • John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation
  • Artworks: National Endowment for the Arts
  • Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences
  • Comer Family Foundation
  • Bloomberg Philanthropies
  • Alphawood Foundation
  • Polk Bros. Foundation