MoMA Presents

Nazarín and Following Nazarín

Apr 12–18, 2022


Nazarín. 1959. Mexico. Directed by ‎Luis Buñuel. Courtesy Photofest
  • MoMA, Floor T2/T1 The Debra and Leon Black Family Film Center

COVID-19 vaccination is required for on-site film screenings. Learn more about visiting us safely.

Luis Buñuel’s personal favorite among the films he made in Mexico, Nazarín is a blisteringly ironic, hauntingly beautiful parable about an idealistic young priest (Francisco Rabal) whose attempts to lead a truly Christian life are ridiculed by the thieves and prostitutes who make up his urban parish. Driven out, he wanders the countryside begging for food, but when his prayers seem to cure a dying child, he becomes a Christlike figure, pursuing his mission with two former prostitutes (Marga Lopez and Rita Macedo) as his apostles. Despite winning an award at the 1959 Cannes Film Festival, the film’s treatment of religion proved so controversial that it was not released in the US until 1968, where it was received by an uncomprehending pan in the New York Times. Out of distribution for many years, Nazarín was restored in 2019 by Mexico’s Cineteca Nacional and Fundación Televisa, and now takes its place as one of Buñuel’s masterworks.

Much more than the standard “making-of” documentary, Javier Espada’s 2015 Tras Nazarín (Following Nazarín) locates Luis Buñuel’s 1959 Nazarín within the Mexican landscape, using still photos taken by Buñuel and the great Mexican photographer Manuel Álvarez Bravo (the subject of a MoMA retrospective in 2014) to link the images of the film to the countryside as it was at the time of the shoot and as it is today. Interviews with Buñuel’s collaborators, among them the screenwriter Jean Claude Carrière and the actors Ignacio López Tarso and Silvia Pinal, evoke Buñuel’s methods; reflections from filmmakers (including Arturo Ripstein and Carlos Reygadas), critics, and scholars position this eternally audacious work in the context of Spanish Catholicism and Mexican history.

Organized by Dave Kehr, Curator, Department of Film. Thanks to Fundación Televisa, Cineteca Nacional México, and Daniela Michel, Festival Internacional de Cine de Morelia.

  • This film series is part of MoMA Presents.

    Film at MoMA is made possible by CHANEL.

    Additional support is provided by the Annual Film Fund. Leadership support for the Annual Film Fund is provided by Debra and Leon D. Black and by Steven Tisch, with major contributions from The Contemporary Arts Council of The Museum of Modern Art, Jo Carole and Ronald S. Lauder, MoMA’s Wallis Annenberg Fund for Innovation in Contemporary Art through the Annenberg Foundation, the Association of Independent Commercial Producers (AICP), The Junior Associates of The Museum of Modern Art, the Samuel I. Newhouse Foundation, Karen and Gary Winnick, and The Brown Foundation, Inc., of Houston.


    If you would like to reproduce an image of a work of art in MoMA’s collection, or an image of a MoMA publication or archival material (including installation views, checklists, and press releases), please contact Art Resource (publication in North America) or Scala Archives (publication in all other geographic locations).

    MoMA licenses archival audio and select out of copyright film clips from our film collection. At this time, MoMA produced video cannot be licensed by MoMA/Scala. All requests to license archival audio or out of copyright film clips should be addressed to Scala Archives at [email protected]. Motion picture film stills cannot be licensed by MoMA/Scala. For access to motion picture film stills for research purposes, please contact the Film Study Center at [email protected]. For more information about film loans and our Circulating Film and Video Library, please visit

    If you would like to reproduce text from a MoMA publication, please email [email protected]. If you would like to publish text from MoMA’s archival materials, please fill out this permission form and send to [email protected].


    This record is a work in progress. If you have additional information or spotted an error, please send feedback to [email protected].