Luis Buñuel

"Buñuel's work shows a continuity of interests and a consistency of achievement unmatched in the history of the cinema. Uncompromising, even when he has worked under the most constricting commercial conditions, he has remained faithful to his artistic origins in surrealism and the cultural heritage of his native Spain." - David Robinson (The International Encyclopedia of Film, 1972)

Luis Buñuel

Director / Screenwriter / Editor / Producer
(1900-1983) Born February 22, Calanda, Aragon, Spain
Top 250 Directors

Key Production Countries: Mexico, France, Spain, Italy
Key Genres: Satire, Drama, Black Comedy, Comedy, Surrealist Film, Comedy Drama, Avant-garde/Experimental, Short Films, Psychological Drama, Religious Comedy, Adventure Drama, Religious Drama
Key Collaborators: Carlos Savage (Editor), Luis Alcoriza (Screenwriter), Óscar Dancigers (Producer), Gabriel Figueroa (Cinematographer), Edward Fitzgerald (Production Designer), Jean-Claude Carrière (Screenwriter), Michel Piccoli (Leading Character Actor), Julio Alejandro (Screenwriter), Serge Silberman (Producer), Julien Bertheau (Leading Character Actor), Luis Aceves Castaneda (Leading Character Actor), Fernando Rey (Leading Actor)

"In short, Buñuel’s work, far from merely entertaining audiences, grappled with issues that were and are to do with how to live one’s life in the face of pressures that, in his view, seek to deny life. His career as a film-maker was one of uncompromising commitment, and this undoubtedly accounts for the lasting vitality of his films." - Gwynne Edwards (A Companion to Luis Buñuel, 2005)
"Perhaps the easiest way to deal with Buñuel's career is to suggest that certain avatars of Luis Buñuel may be identified at different historical periods. The first Luis Buñuel is the Surrealist. The second Luis Buñuel is the all-but-anonymous journeyman film professional. The third is the Mexican director. The fourth is the Luis Buñuel who gradually made his way back to Europe by way of a few French films made in alternation with films in Mexico. The last Luis Buñuel, following his emergence in the mid-1960s, was the past master, at once awesome and beloved." - E. Rubinstein (International Dictionary of Films and Filmmakers, 1991)
"Though the Church and bourgeoisie were his prime targets, beggars might be thieves and rapists, blind men paedophiles, virginal cripples harridans, and housewives afternoon whores; all were calmly and coolly examined as if insects under the microscope, with the fascinated, bemused Buñuel never hammering home a moral sermon, but merely revealing, in a strange spirit of sympathy, the fundamental comedy of the human condition. He was, in short, one of cinema's greatest, most unassertive masters." - Geoff Andrew (The Director's Vision, 1999)
"Although Buñuel made some haunting films in the early 1950s - most notably El Bruto and El, the richest period of his work runs from 1958 to 1970, years in which Buñuel produced a series of shattering works that could almost claim to be considered masterpieces of the cinema." - David Quinlan (Quinlan's Film Directors, 1999)
"Luis Buñuel's canon is a strange and wondrous dream factory. His episodic narratives frequently break off and shift their shape, and the deranged imagery and absurdist situations follow the rigorous patterns of dream logic. Buñuel wrote "The cinema seems to have been invented to express the life of the subconscious" and his films seek to lay bare both the repressed desires buried in the human mind and the social hypocrisies lying in plain sight that we're usually content to sleepwalk past." - Jessica Winter (The Rough Guide to Film, 2007)
"A comedian of anarchy, Buñuel turned any project he was given (or chose to take) into yet another facet of an all-consuming vision in which the Church, the middle classes, the worthy and the dull became fodder for his explosive visions. He despised the cinema of 'effect', and chose to tell his stories and illustrate his themes in as uncomplicated a way as possible - but the depth of thought behind each image always come through." - Mario Reading (The Movie Companion, 2006)
"His best films use black comedy, sly satire and alarming surrealistic imagery to express his hatred of the Catholic church and his disregard for conventional morality." - Chambers Film Factfinder, 2006
"Surreal comedies laced with complex psychology are representative of Bunuel's talents." - William R. Meyer (The Film Buff's Catalog, 1978)
"Fortunately, somewhere between chance and mystery lies imagination, the only thing that protects our freedom, despite the fact that people keep trying to reduce it or kill it off altogether." - Luis Buñuel
TSPDT Guide
Highly Recommended
L'Âge d'or (1930) , Los Olvidados (1950) , El (1952) , The Young One (1960), Viridiana (1961) , The Exterminating Angel (1962) , Tristana (1970) , The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie (1972) , The Phantom of Liberty (1974)
Recommended
Un Chien andalou (1928) , Land Without Bread (1932) , The Great Madcap (1949), The Criminal Life of Archibaldo de la Cruz (1955) , Diary of a Chambermaid (1964), Simon of the Desert (1965) , Belle de jour (1967) , The Milky Way (1969), That Obscure Object of Desire (1977)
Worth a Look
Susana (1951), Adventures of Robinson Crusoe (1952), El Bruto (1952), Illusion Travels by Streetcar (1953), Wuthering Heights (1954), Death in the Garden (1956), That is the Dawn (1956), Nazarín (1958) , La Fièvre monte à El Pao (1959)
Acclaimed Films / IMDB Filmography
1,000 Greatest Films
Luis Buñuel / Favourite Films
L'Âge d'or (1930) Luis Buñuel, Battleship Potemkin (1925) Sergei Eisenstein, Bicycle Thieves (1948) Vittorio De Sica, Cavalcade (1933) Frank Lloyd, Dead of Night (1945) Alberto Cavalcanti, Basil Dearden, Robert Hamer & Charles Crichton, The Gold Rush (1925) Charles Chaplin, I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang (1932) Mervyn LeRoy, Portrait of Jennie (1948) William Dieterle, Underworld (1927) Josef von Sternberg, White Shadows in the South Seas (1928) W.S. Van Dyke.
Source: Cinematheque Belgique (1952)
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