Luis Buñuel

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kinjitsu
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Luis Buñuel

#1 Post by kinjitsu » Wed Apr 18, 2007 11:02 pm

Luis Buñuel (1900-1983)

Image

Liberty is a phantom. I've thought about that
sincerely and I believe it. Freedom is no more
than a ghost of mist. Man can seek it out, even
believe he has grasped it... and in the end he is
left with only fleeting bits of mist in his hands.



Fimography

Un chien andalou (1929) BFI (R2) Editions Montparnasse (R2) Transflux (R1)

Eating Sea Urchins (1930)

L'Age d'or (1930) BFI (R2) Kino (R1)

Tiera sin pan / Las Hurdes / Land Without Bread (1932) Films sans Frontieres R0

Don Quintin el amargao / The Bitter Mr Quintin (1935) (uncredited w/Luis Marquina)

La hija de Juan Simon (1935) (uncredited - various)

¡Centinela, alerta! (1936) (uncredited - w/Jean Gremillon)

Espagne (1937) co-writer/producer

Triumph of the Will (1941) montage created from documentaries by Rifenstahl and Bertram (Feldzug in Polen)

The Beast with Five Fingers (1946) wrote library scene (uncredited)

Gran Casino / En el viejo Tampico (1946) Lionsgate (R1) Studio Canal (R2)

El Gran Calavera / The Great Madcap (1949) Alter Films (R1/4) Gaumont (R2) Studio Canal (R2) Yume (R2)

Los Olvidados / The Young and the Damned (1950) Alter Films (R1/4) BFI (R2) Cine Club (R2) Films Sans Frontieres (R0)

Susana (1951) Facets Cinemateca (R1) Films Sans Frontieres (R2)

Si usted no puede, yo si (1950) contributed to screenplay (uncredited)

La Hija del engano / Daughter of Deceit (1951) Alter Films (R1/4)

Una Mujer sin amor / A Woman Without Love (1952) Facets Cinemateca (R1)

Subida al cielo / Ascent To Heaven (1951) Alter Films (R1/4) Films Sans Frontieres (R2) Gaumont (R2) Yume (R2)

El Bruto / The Brute (1952) Facets Cinemateca (R1) Films Sans Frontieres (R2)

The Adventures of Robinson Crusoe (1952) VCI (R1)

El / This Strange Passion (1953) Cine Club (R2) Films Sans Frontieres (R2)

Abismos de pasion / Wuthering Heights (1953) Films Sans Frontiers (R2)

La Ilusion viaja en tranvi­a / Illusion Takes the Streetcar (1953) Alter Films (R1/4)

El rio y la muerte / The River and Death (1954) Alter Films (R1/4) Gaumont (R2)

Ensayo de un Crimen / The Criminal Life of Archibaldo de la Cruz (1955) Cine Club (R2) Films Sans Frontieres (R2)

Cela s'appelle l'aurore / Men Call It Dawn (1955) Rene Chateau (R2)

La Mort en ce jardin / Death in the Garden (1956)

Nazari­n (1958) Alter Films (R1/4) Yume (R2)

La fievre monte a El Pao / Republic of Sin (1959)

La Joven / The Young One (1960) Lionsgate (R1) Manga (R2) Optimum (R2) Studio Canal (R2)

Viridiana (1961) Arrow (R2) Criterion (R1) Films Sans Frontieres (R2)

El Angel exterminador / The Exterminating Angel (1962) Arrow (R2) Criterion (R1)

Le Journal d'une femme de chambre / Diary of a Chambermaid (1964) Criterion (R1) Studio Canal (R2)

Simon del desierto / Simon of the Desert (1965) Criterion (R1)

Belle de jour (1966) BFI (R2) Optimum (R2) Studio Canal (R2)

La Voie lactee / The Milky Way (1969) Arrow (R2) Criterion (R1) Optimum (R2) Studio Canal (R2)

Tristana (1970) Optimum (R2) BFI (R2) Studio Canal (R2)

Le Charme discret de la bourgeoisie / The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie (1972) Criterion (R1) Optimum (R2) Studio Canal (R2)

Le Fantome de la liberte / The Phantom of Liberty (1974) Criterion (R1) Optimum (R2) Studio Canal (R2)

Cet obscur objet du desir / That Obscure Object of Desire (1977) Criterion (R1) Optimum (R2) Studio Canal (R2)


Forum Discussions

BFI: L'Age d'or and Un chien andalou

Diary of a Chambermaid (Criterion)

The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie (Criterion)

The Exterminating Angel (Criterion)

Luis Buñuel: coleccion de dos peliculas sin subti­tulos

Lionsgate: Luis Buñuel Collection

Luis Buñuel on DVD

The Milky Way (Criterion)

Optimum: The Luis Buñuel Collection

The Phantom of Liberty (Criterion)

Screen Captures: Luis Buñuel Collection (Optimum)

Simon of the Desert (Criterion)

That Obscure Object of Desire (Criterion)

Viridiana (Criterion)


Internet Resources

Buñuel, 100 anos (in Spanish)

Centenario de Luis Buñuel (in Spanish)

Cruelty and Love in Los Olividados - Andre Bazin (What is Cinema? 1967)

Easy Striders: The Milky Way - Mark Polizzotti (Criterion essay)

Diary of a Chambermaid - Michael Atkinson (Criterion essay)

The Discreet Charm of Buñuel - Carlos Fuentes (New York Times, March, 1973)

The Human Comedy: Viridiana - Michael Wood (Criterion essay)

Luis Buñuel - Dominique Russell (Senses of Cinema)

Luis Buñuel - Five Films - Acquarello (Strictly Film School)

Luis Buñuel Remembered - Jean-Claude Carriere (Flickhead)

The Perfect Martini - Luis Buñuel (from My Last Sigh)

That Obscure Object of Desire - William Rothman (Criterion essay)

The Serpentine Movements of Chance: The Phantom of Liberty - Gary Indiana (Criterion essay)


Publications

An Unspeakable Betrayal: Selected Writings of Luis Buñuel - Garrett White, translator (University of California Press, 2000)

Buñuel - John Baxter (Da Capo Press, 1999)

Buñuel and Mexico: The Crisis of National Cinema - Ernesto R. Acevedo-Munoz (University of California Press, 2003)

Buñuel, siglo XXI - Isabel Santaolalla et al, editors (Zaragoza: Prensas Universitarias, 2004)

The Discreet Art of Luis Buñuel: A Reading of His Films - Gwynne Edwards (Marion Boyars Publishers, 1991)

The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie - Marsha Kinder, editor (Cambridge University Press, 2005)

The Films of Luis Buñuel: Subjectivity and Desire - Peter William Evans (Oxford University Press, 1995)

Luis Buñuel - Raymond Durgnat (University of California Press, 1978)

Luis Buñuel: New Readings - Isabel Santaolalla and Peter William Evans (British Film Institute, 2008)

Luis Buñuel - Bill Krohn, Paul Duncan, editor (Taschen, 2005)

Los Olvidados - Mark Polizzotti (BFI Film Classics, 2006)

My Last Sigh - Luis Buñuel with Jean-Claude Carriere (University of Minnesota Press, 2003)

Objects of Desire: Conversations with Luis Buñuel - Jose de la Colina and Tomas Perez Turrent, Paul Lenti, editor/translator (Marsilio, 1992)
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Last edited by kinjitsu on Fri Sep 05, 2008 7:31 pm, edited 32 times in total.

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GringoTex
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#2 Post by GringoTex » Mon Dec 31, 2007 9:12 pm

Caught Susana for the first time. I'll call it hacienda noir. The normally sunny ranch is stricken by chiaroscuro lighting as Satan descends in the form of a hot Latin slut. It's a vicious, hilarious attack on all things sacredly Mexican. I'm now figuring Bunuel has more masterpieces to his credit than any director I know of.

Image

Just got back yesterday from a ten-day trip to El Salvador doing business management consulting for a children's home there, and then I watched this tonight. If I believed life imitated art, I'd condemn Bunuel for singlehandedly inventing the misery of childhood. The shot where the kid smashes the hen's egg on the camera lens is the greatest act of rebellion in all of cinema.

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david hare
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#3 Post by david hare » Mon Dec 31, 2007 9:44 pm

Gringo I'm assuming you've also seen Las Hurdes? There's the moment when Bunuel's camera stops to observe several toothless inbred denizens of this poverty stricken hell hole, while the VO intones "Voici un cretin.. voici un autre cretin.." Although it's a ostensibly documentary the effect is just as shockingly Hyper-real as the egg shot from Olvidados.

Coincidentally the Films sans Frontieres disc of Los Olvidados (English subs) includes Las Hurdes (with a French VO) plus an alternative ending for the Feature. It's still in print.

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GringoTex
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#4 Post by GringoTex » Mon Dec 31, 2007 11:10 pm

David- I saw Las Hurdes 13 years ago as a young 'un and it remains picture perfect in my mind as a perfect excercise in form. Now that I'm more experienced, I want to go back and watch it on the Films san Frontieres disc that I watched Olvidados on tonight (btw- it's a very acceptable image for anyone tired of waiting for an American release and can be found on ebay for a reasonable price) but I'm also afraid to ruin that perfection, though I shouldn't be, because Bunuel can only get better with age, right?

I think it was Bill Krohn who said that Las Hurdes (and not Chien Andalou or L'Age D'or) is the keystone of Bunuel's work. I believe Bunuel's Mexican period bears this out (and it was you, David, who lead me to seek out the Mexi films I hadn't seen with your praise of Subida al Cielo, so thanks). As much as his intercontinental films are concerned with the oppressors, his Mexican films are concerned with the oppressed.

In the past few months I've seen for the first time Subida al Cielo, Susana, Gran Casino, Illusion Viaja in Tranivia, and Mujer sin Amor; as well as revisited El Bruto and Los Olvidados, and I'm left with the impression that Bunuel's body of work is only matched by Ford's.

There's a rumor that Bunuel embraced religion in his later life, and if true, I can only imagine that it was not Bunuel who changed his mind about God, but God who changed his mind about Bunuel. So to paraphrase Truffaut's line about Ford: "Since God believes in Bunuel, Bunuel bless God."

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bunuelian
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#5 Post by bunuelian » Tue Jan 01, 2008 9:01 pm

Having read quite a bit about Bunuel, I feel it's necessary to separate his hatred of the Catholic establishment from his attitude about religion in general. His works' blasphemous elements were intended to offend, as much as possible, conservative Catholicism. There is plenty of room for him to have believed in God his entire life, even if he rejected Catholicism.

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#6 Post by justeleblanc » Tue Jan 01, 2008 11:50 pm

bunuelian wrote:Having read quite a bit about Bunuel, I feel it's necessary to separate his hatred of the Catholic establishment from his attitude about religion in general. His works' blasphemous elements were intended to offend, as much as possible, conservative Catholicism. There is plenty of room for him to have believed in God his entire life, even if he rejected Catholicism.
Nazarin would be a perfect example.

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Michael Kerpan
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#7 Post by Michael Kerpan » Wed Jan 02, 2008 1:41 am

I don't see his films as indicating a belief in God -- but they do show a respect for genuinely religious individuals, who try to do good -- even though Bunuel doubted that such religiously-inspired individual good works could accomplish much good in the long run.

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david hare
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#8 Post by david hare » Wed Jan 02, 2008 3:04 am

Bunuelian and I have had this discussion before. Often. And I hope we continue to, like Rey and the Bridge playing priests in Tristana. I think Don Luis shows as much interest in god as Renoir, or Mizoguchi or Hawks. None. He is a true atheist. You very rightly ascribe separation between organized religion and belief and decency (also read "politics" given the recent horrible but inevitable assassination of Benazir Bhuto in that rotten country... what a prime surreal subject for Bunuel. Plus the H-Bomb.).

Don Luis sees past all of this. But he always shows affection -I simply cant think of any other word - for the various crazy or loopy worker priests and virgins who haunt the edges of so many of his later movies (and his autobiography.) The scene of Fernando Rey playing (is it?) Bridge or Poker with the caponesque Bishops in Tristana is sublime (as is the entire movie) and the "Worker" Cardinal is the only one of the four Sadean pillars (a la 120 Days of Sodom) left to come out of Charme Discret with any integrity, after the military/diplomats/politicians/drug dealers/serial murderers. But this is all de trop the point at hand. (Christ Im hungover).

Bunuel goes even further than I do, as an atheist, or at the very least he acommodates me (slyly I'm sure) with a notion of the universe as enoyable chaos. He obviously loathes injustice, the obscenity of war and the inherenetly degrading and corrupting quality of power. At one point in his auto he quotes a verse of Song of Solomon - which is wildly erotic - and effectively suicidially dangerous for whomever anonymous writer wrote it for that worst of all books - and the homicidal editors - the Old Testament. Bunuel praises it as .."sublime as a passage from Sade". I agree with him and the passge from Sade Im thinking of is the extraordinary oration from one of the attendees at the bed of Countess WhoevadaFuck in La Philosophe dans le Boudoir who rhapsodizes (orgasmically as it turns out) about the notion of man/woman growing so huge (as god) it rises up to ejaculate all over the universe and exterminate it. Literally tun out it's lights. (THis is my very favorite moment of hyper imagination in all of thousands of turgid pages of Sadean recit.) The scene has many layers of meaning - given it was written during the 1780s - but I dont think Don Luis was thinking anything at all nice about organized religion. Or Politics. Or the forthcoming NOT-fabuolusness of Capitalist Imperialsm. Or the totally unbleieveable selfishness of Y-geners. Or homosexuals for that matter. Abnout whom he is screechingly funny - like a man whose knee can't be touched. Anyway what''s this got to do with, well where did we start? God? Nah.

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bunuelian
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#9 Post by bunuelian » Wed Jan 02, 2008 4:49 am

I am only concerned that we overemphasize all the aspects of Surrealist dogma, like de Sade, when we try to understand Bunuel the man. So much of the Bunuel story is mere legend (much of it created by him), it's hard to separate fact from devious farce. For example, how much of the Viridiana story are we to believe? Did Juan Luis really smuggle the original negatives out of France on the back of a horse-drawn wagon, covered with bull fighting equipment, or did Bunuel just make this up to give the story a fanciful ending (and Juan Luis carried it on)? It's hard to know these concrete things, let alone Bunuel's personal attitude about issues like "does God exist?"

Perhaps he was a true atheist. Or, perhaps the political and cultural rebelliousness within him found a perfect match in the absolute radicalism of public atheism, something to ensure that the establishment would have no viable way to co-opt his work.

In "My Last Sigh" he speaks of gaining passage through anarchist checkpoints during the civil war by proclaiming, "I piss on God." (Or is it "spit?" I've forgotten exactly.) It was a sign that he was not aligned with the fascist Church. Was it also a sign that he in fact didn't believe in some sort of God? It's an erroneous leap to attach the political and social dimensions of his carefully crafted public persona to his personal life. Above all else, Bunuel was a master of his public image.

A point to be considered is the definition of "atheist" here. I don't think an "atheist" is one who says, "Fuck you, God!" Rather, it's someone who lacks a belief in a deity. De Sade's heroes spend a lot of time and energy laughing in God's face. If there is no God to them, why would they waste so much time with it? To me, these people are rebelling against the system, but they are doing so within a theistic framework. If there truly were no God in their world view, they'd find nothing of value in all their blasphemies. Naturally, de Sade's work was not just about individuals' beliefs but also a concrete act of social rebellion, and this is the aspect that the Surrealists respect.

With the notion of atheism as an absence of belief in mind, I don't find the absence of a God in his films at all incompatible with a belief in a God. His films are inconsistent with the notion of a compassionate and intervening God, which of course is the great middle finger he's giving to the Church.

It's a very complex question, trying to understand Bunuel the man based on his work. None of his films are deeply personal. They are calculated fictions that pull the rug out from under established expectations. It's a lot harder to garner something about Bunuel the man from his films than it is from the works of Bergman, Bresson, or Tarkovsky, for example.

I'm an atheist, so I'm not on a mission to prove that he was not an atheist. Personally, I find the question fairly irrelevant to our understanding of him. But that's probably because I don't see atheism as a radical idea at all, or theistic belief all that central to a person's character. Someone can profess a belief in God but not have it impact their lives at all (see much of Western civilization). An indifference to God is not the same as a denial of God.

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#10 Post by david hare » Wed Jan 02, 2008 5:11 am

Two no trumps... Four spades? OK Five clubs. And we get it. I think the Don gets beyond where we are by simply ignoring the obvious. I had not realized you feel so concerned about these elements. (In all honesty.) But I see your point about his envelope. Look - the way he vacillates about homosexuality is particularly edgy to me. But he puts a form of it (his nastiness) out in the last scenes ("Baby Cheeses" (or is it revolutionary army of ) in Cet Obscur Objet, and then makes some lightheartedly withering comments about radical homosexuals becoming world terrorists in San Francisco bombing the theatre in Mon Denier Soupir. (Just a year before AIDS as it turns out.) He's a constant shocker!! I would have LOVED to meet this man. Don't ever trust a thing he says, but believe him ABSOLUTELY!

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GringoTex
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Re: Luis Buñuel

#11 Post by GringoTex » Tue May 05, 2009 11:18 pm

Celebrated Cinco de Mayo tonight with La ilusion viaja en tranvia (Bunuel's valentine to Mexico City) and a 12-pack of Tecate. I love this film more every time I see it. It has no dramatic arc to speak of (prefiguring his french trilogy), so familiarity breeds its own little climaxes.

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Re: Luis Bunuel

#12 Post by razumovsky » Mon Oct 04, 2010 12:58 pm

This 1964 episode of Cineastes de notre temps has surfaced - fantastic footage of Don Luis. He's obviously not the easiest interviewee, but his charm is evident.

This seems to have been posted by the Office de Redifussion Television Francaise, which at least sounds official. It certainly seems complete, and it well-subtitled.

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Gregory
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Re: Luis Buñuel

#13 Post by Gregory » Mon Oct 04, 2010 1:30 pm

I believe it's the same version Criterion included on Viridiana, which was edited down. IMDb lists the episode's runtime as 45 min.

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lacritfan
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Re: Luis Buñuel

#14 Post by lacritfan » Thu Jun 09, 2011 10:38 pm

Can someone recommend a book on Bunuel's films akin to Everything Is Cinema is to Godard? I'd like to be able to follow his filmography chronologically, read a chapter on a film and then see it.

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Gregory
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Re: Luis Buñuel

#15 Post by Gregory » Thu Jun 09, 2011 11:19 pm

Durgnat's Luis Bunuel. The revised and expanded edition that I have is from '77 and goes up through Phantom of Liberty.

mbajic
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Re: Luis Buñuel

#16 Post by mbajic » Sat Jun 11, 2011 5:03 am

I would recommend Conversations with Luis Bunuel. It's a Q and A sort of book and really interesting, taken near the end of his life when he had already made That obscure Object of Desire. His points of views and anecdotes are all hilarious and funky, just like his films. . Reading it, you feel like you're sitting on a chair opposite and listening to a down-right fascinating man. Great stuff.

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bunuelian
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Re: Luis Buñuel

#17 Post by bunuelian » Mon Jun 13, 2011 2:29 am

I seem to recall enjoying the Arranda book, but it's been a long time since I've read it. Books about Bunuel are often hit-or-miss, in part because it's clear that everyone was caught up in the self-made legend he perpetuated. My Last Sigh is compulsory, of course.

Avoid the Baxter biography.

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lacritfan
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Re: Luis Buñuel

#18 Post by lacritfan » Tue Jun 14, 2011 3:01 pm

Thanks for all the recommendations.

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barryconvex
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Re: Luis Buñuel

#19 Post by barryconvex » Sun Jul 13, 2014 9:38 pm


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Trees
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Re: Luis Buñuel

#20 Post by Trees » Sun Apr 17, 2016 9:32 pm

I was led to Nazarín by Tarkovsky's top ten list. Obviously, Tarkovsky did not seem to have an issue with Buñuel's take on religion, at least in terms of this one picture.

So much of the charm of this film comes from the priest's incredible faith. Yes, Buñuel does seem to perhaps view Christianity's core teachings as being irreconcilable with modern societies. The priest follows Jesus' teachings about as closely as possible, but finds mostly calamity.

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Trees
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Re: Luis Buñuel

#21 Post by Trees » Mon Apr 18, 2016 8:31 pm

I'm curious what the feelings are around here about Buñuel. He seems like a crazy character. Is most of the conversation about him here fragmented into threads about his various films?

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domino harvey
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Re: Luis Buñuel

#22 Post by domino harvey » Mon Apr 18, 2016 8:50 pm

A cursory search shows over 1700 posts on this forum about Bunuel. So yes, he's come up before

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Trees
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Re: Luis Buñuel

#23 Post by Trees » Mon Apr 18, 2016 8:58 pm

what do you think of him, domino?

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whaleallright
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Re: Luis Buñuel

#24 Post by whaleallright » Mon Apr 18, 2016 9:09 pm

Nice guy, don't know if I'd trust him with my children.

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swo17
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Re: Luis Buñuel

#25 Post by swo17 » Mon Apr 18, 2016 10:10 pm

Why wouldn't you trust domino with your children?

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