Buñuel, Luis

b. 1900, Calanda (Teruel); d. 1983, Mexico City
   Filmmaker
   Buñuel occupies the most prominent position not only in Spanish film but in European surrealist film as a whole. No other Spanish director has left a comparable legacy of internationally recognized masterworks, and although he spent most of his career in exile he inspired a generation of younger directors, such as Carlos Saura, who started to work under Franco's dictatorship. His earlier films, Un chien andalou (An Andalusian Dog), which he wrote with Salvador Dalí, and L'Age d'or (The Golden Age), are unanimously considered the most genuine examples of surrealism in film. Many of the ideas for Un chien andalou emanated from the intellectual atmosphere of the Residencia de Estudiantes, the Madrid institution where both Buñuel and Dalí spent their university years, and where they knew such important figures as the poet Federico García Lorca.
   In 1925, Buñuel moved to Paris to learn the craft of filmmaking with the French director Jean Epstein. The release, in 1929, of Un chien andalou gave both Dalí and Buñuel access to the surrealist group. Although, according to Buñuel, he and Dalí conceived Un chien andalou while trying to come up with images and associations that defied interpretation, the surrealists found in this short film the most accurate expression of the discourse of dreams, and of desire. It also transgresses humorously all the rules of cinematic continuity, providing a kind of metafictional commentary which makes us aware of the conventions and habits by which films are constructed and interpreted. L'Age d'or adheres more strictly to the themes and concerns of the surrealist movement: desire and irrationality, l'amour fou and the gratuitous act, here become weapons of cultural revolution, with explicit political implications. The film attacks religion, family, morality and the whole fabric of bourgeois society. In this sense, it can be said to anticipate many of his later films, such as Le charme discret de la bourgeoisie (The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie) and Le fantôme de la liberté (The Phantom of Liberty), which would also choose the same institutions as the targets of criticism. Even before Franco came to power Buñuel had clashed with governmental censorship, as his 1932 documentary Las Hurdes, also entitled Tierra sin pan (Land Without Bread), was forbidden by the Republic because of the negative image of Spain it presented. The Civil War forced him into exile, first in the United States and from 1946 in Mexico. Some of his Mexican films were "bread and butter" melodramas, which, though often neglected by the critics, complement his more original films of the period as they show the development of his style and the continuity of his surrealist concerns: dreamscenes and fantasies are interwoven with the naturalistic fabric of the narrative, erasing the limits between different levels of reality. Viridiana was the first film Buñuel made in Spain after his exile, and it proved highly controversial, for contrasting reasons. A sector of the anti-Franco opposition feared it might mean the domestication of Buñuel by the dictatorship, which had approved the film. Despite being the official entry at the Cannes Film Festival, where it won the Golden Palm, the film ended up being banned in Spain, after protests about its content from the Vatican's L'Osservatore Romano. The critical acclaim which greeted the film marked the beginning of a period of increased international recognition and more abundant resources, mostly from French producers. In the 1960s and 1970s Buñuel achieved an unparalleled degree of creative independence, which allowed him to display his satire of religion, morality and social class through fluid narrative structures, where the rules of verisimilitude are constantly transgressed, in films such as La Voie Lactée (The Milky Way), Le charme discret de la bourgeoisie (which won the 1972 Academy Award for Best Foreign Film), and Le fantôme de la liberté. Buñuel found in literature a permanent source of inspiration. In addition to classics such as Wuthering Heights and Robinson Crusoe, he adapted two novels by the nineteenth-century Spanish writer Benito Pérez Galdós, Nazarín and Tristana. Even films which are closely identified with his personal style, such as Belle de jour or Cet obscur objet du désir (That Obscure Object of Desire), have a literary source. In this, his last film, Buñuel, playfully undermining our habits of interpretation by using two actresses for the same role, returned to the impulse that had never ceased to drive his work since his earlier films, to the subject of desire.
   Filmography
   - Buñuel, L. (1929) Un chien andalou (An Andalusian Dog).
   —— (1930) L'Age d'or (The Golden Age).
   —— (1932) Las Hurdes/Tierra sin pan (Land Without Bread).
   —— (1950) Los olvidados (The Dispossessed).
   —— (1955) Ensayo de un crimen/La vida criminal de Archibaldo de la Cruz (The Criminal Life of Archibaldo de la Cruz).
   —— (1958) Nazarín,
   —— (1961) Viridiana.
   —— (1962) El ángel exterminador (The Exterminating Angel).
   —— (1966) Belle de jour.
   —— (1968) La Voie Lactée (The Milky Way).
   —— (1969) Tristana.
   —— (1972) Le charme discret de la bourgeoisie (The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie).
   —— (1974) Le fantôme de la liberté (The Phantom of Liberty).
   —— (1977) Cet obscur objet du désir (That Obscure Object of Desire).
   Further reading
   - Baxter, J. (1995) Buñuel, London: Fourth Estate (the latest biography in English).
   - Buñuel, L. and Carrière, J.-C. (1984) My Last Breath, London: Cape (Buñuel's not wholly reliable but engaging autobiography).
   - Evans, P.W. (1995) The Films of Luis Buñuel: Subjectivity and Desire, Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press (a sophisticated study that takes into account the most recent critical approaches).
   - Sánchez Vidal, A. (1991) Luis Buñuel, Madrid: Cátedra (a thorough introduction to Buñuel's work, with careful analyses of his films).
   - Sandro, P. (1987) Diversions of Pleasure: Luis Buñuel and the Crisis of Desire, Columbus, OH: Ohio State University Press (a perceptive analysis that addresses the films from a theoretical perspective).
   ANTONIO MONEGAL-BRANCOS

Encyclopedia of contemporary Spanish culture. 2013.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Bunuel, Luis — (Luis Bunuel Portoles / February 22, 1900, Calanda, Spain July 29, 1983, Mexico, D.F. Mexico)    The son of wealthy landowners, he was educated by Jesuit priests. He studied natural science at the Uni­versity of Madrid, where he befriended… …   Encyclopedia of French film directors

  • Buñuel, Luis — born Feb. 22, 1900, Calanda, Spain died July 29, 1983, Mexico City, Mex. Spanish film director. As a student at the University of Madrid he met Salvador Dalí, with whom he later made the Surrealist film Un chien andalou (1928). Buñuel then… …   Universalium

  • Buńuel. Luis — • БУНЬЮЭ ЛЬ, Бюнюэль (Bunuel) Луис (22.2.1900 29.7.1983)    исп. режиссёр. В 1907 15 учился в иезуитском колледже в Сарагосе, с 1917 в Студенч. резиденции в Мадриде. В 1924 27 в Париже участвовал в движении Авангард , работал ассистентом реж. Ж.… …   Кино: Энциклопедический словарь

  • Buñuel, Luis — (1900 1983)    Although Luis Buñuel was regarded as the foremost Spanish film director for over three decades, his actual Spanish output is surprisingly small: he produced and directed the documentary Las Hurdes, Tierra Sin Pan in 1932 (which was …   Guide to cinema

  • Buñuel, Luis — (1900 1983)    Although Luis Buñuel was regarded as the foremost Spanish film director for over three decades, his actual Spanish output is surprisingly small: he produced and directed the documentary Las Hurdes, Tierra Sin Pan in 1932 (which was …   Historical dictionary of Spanish cinema

  • Buñuel, Luis — ► (1900 1983) Realizador cinematográfico español, nacionalizado mexicano. Vinculado a la generación del 27, se trasladó a París y en colaboración con Salvador Dalí realizó su primera película surrealista (V. surrealismo): El perro andaluz (1928) …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Buñuel,Luis — Bu·ñu·el (bo͞o nyo͞o ĕlʹ), Luis. 1900 1983. Spanish director known for his studies of modern social manners in films such as Belle de Jour (1966) and The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie (1972). * * * …   Universalium

  • Luis Buñuel — Nombre real Luis Buñuel Portolés Nacimiento 22 de febrero de 1900 Calanda, Teruel, Aragón …   Wikipedia Español

  • Bunuel — Luis Buñuel Luis Buñuel (* 22. Februar 1900 in Calanda (Spanien); † 29. Juli 1983 in Mexiko Stadt, Mexiko) war ein spanisch mexikanischer Filmemacher, der in der Frühzeit des Films als surrealistischer Regisseur bekannt …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Luis Bunuel — Luis Buñuel Luis Buñuel (* 22. Februar 1900 in Calanda (Spanien); † 29. Juli 1983 in Mexiko Stadt, Mexiko) war ein spanisch mexikanischer Filmemacher, der in der Frühzeit des Films als surrealistischer Regisseur bekannt …   Deutsch Wikipedia

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