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Luis Buñuel

Luis Buñuel

Luis Buñuel Portolés (22 February 1900 – 29 July 1983) was a Spanish-born Mexican filmmaker who worked in Spain, Mexico, France and the United States.

 

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Megan Mockler

Megan Mockler

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In 1946, Bunuel was invited to adapt Lorca's "La Casa de Bernarda Albe" to be filmed in Mexico. The project never materialised, but Bunuel found other opportunities in Mexico, and decided to move his family there. While exile in Mexico was still difficult, Bunuel was surrounded by a language and a culture closer to his own, as well as a community of Spanish emigres. His entry into Mexican cinema was not easy: his first effort "Gran Casino" (1946) was a flop. Bunuel considered his next film "El Gran Calavera" (1949) equally banal, but it helped him establish a craftsman's discipline and technique.

Article: Luis Bunuel
Source: Senses of Cinema

In his autobiography, Bunuel writes that above all else surrealists had a passion for the irrational. His aim was to fight a despised society (and its religions, bourgeoisie and work ethic) through shock and scandal. In films like L'Age D'Or, and That Obscure Object of Desire, Bunuel explores l'amour fou, another aspect of the surreal, which he defines as the impossible force that brings two people together and the subsequent impossibility of them ever becoming one. Surrealists also privilege dreams and the unconscious, giving them equal if not greater importance than waking reality.

Article: Luis Bunuel: Love, Lav...
Source: Luis Bunuel: Love, Lav...

Neither Luis Bunuel nor Salvador Dali was widely known when their first film, "Un Chien Andalou," delighted the Surrealists and proved an immediate succes d'estime, as well as a succes de scandale, in the Parisian literary world. Their subsequent movie, "L'Age d'Or," brought generous tributes from literary figures as diverse as Cyril Connolly and Henry Miller.

Article:   Luis Bunuel
Source:  Offline Book/Journal

It was his contact with the young artists, though, and their shared existence that was a catalyst to Bunuel as the celebrated film artist that he is known as today. The artists headed the Surrealist movement, from which Bunuel drew inspiration. Since 1920, Spain's most outstanding names in the fields of science, arts, and sociology have come from that incredibly strong movement. Many names along with the recognizable Bunuel and Salvador Dali are Alberti Guillen, Damaso Alonzo, Barradas, Palencia, Vazquez Diaz, Jose Ortega, and Adolfo Salazar.

Article: Luis Bunuel Biography
Source: Luis Bunuel Biography

He immigrated to Paris in 1925, where he became fascinated with cinema and made his first film, in collaboration with Dalí: the Surrealist classic Un Chien Andalou (1928). The film’s dream logic construction, the theme of thwarted desire and its subversive indictment of religion all were essential Buñuel – as was the accompanying uproar and condemnation. Buñuel’s insubordinate mockery of all sacred institutions – public and domestic – would lead to a convoluted path in and out of trouble with the powers he continued to excoriate cinematically. After managing to find financing for two more subversive, iconic and iconoclastic projects—L’Age d’Or (1930) and Land Without Bread (1933)—Buñuel went more than a decade without making another film. In part, this was due to the rise of Fascism in Europe; when the Republic was overturned, Buñuel —who had been working for the Spanish Republican government—happened to be in New York, so he stayed in the US. On the other hand, his body of work at that point did not pave the way to a career in Hollywood either; although he was briefly under contract at MGM, he worked at Warner Bros. during World War II, supervising the dubbing of films into Spanish.

Article: Buñuel - The Beginning a...
Source: Harvard Film Archive

The first born of a rich-landowning family, he studied with the Jesuits in Zaragosa, where his father owned a stately home, and spent his summers in Calanda. At 17 he moved to Madrid where he lived at the prestigious Residencia de estudiantes until 1925.

Article: Luis Bunuel
Source: Senses of Cinema

Bunuel's childhood was, as this account suggests, extremely traditional, and his mother, a very devout woman, played no small part in it. She ensured that her seven children were brought up according to the strict moral conventions of the day, doting on Luis, her first-born, to extend that, as Francisco Aranda has suggested, she later kept photographs of him 'on an improvised alter in the wardrobe where they were surrounded by photographs of the late Popes'.

Article:   A Companion to Luis Bunue…
Source:  Offline Book/Journal

His early life was not irrelevant to his development later in life as a film artist. He liberated himself violently from his religion, which had been the cause of a lot of anxiety earlier in life. Another aspect of his early life that he rebelled against was his social status. He was a product of the bourgeoisie, and his family was part of an urban culture that was liberal and intellectual, but also landowners. Bunuel's work as a film artist was a pitiless analysis of his childhood, filled with aesthetic reminders whether they be musical, literary, or simply objects.

Article: Luis Bunuel Biography
Source: Luis Bunuel Biography

Generally, Bunuel's films present the violence and brutality of life. By using shocking images in realistic settings, he seeks to make audiences aware of the nature of the world. He explained that the unknown and the strange attracted him and that he perceived situations from a sadistic point of view

Article: Luis Bunuel: Some Facts
Source:

The filmmaking career of Luis Buñuel (1900 -1983) followed a peripatetic path, beginning and ending in France, with a long detour to the Americas in between. After a thoroughly bourgeois upbringing in the Aragon province of Spain, Buñuel moved to Madrid in 1917 to study at what is now the Universidad Complutense de Madrid.

Article: Buñuel - The Beginning a...
Source: Harvard Film Archive
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