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A Companion to Luis Buñuel

A Companion to Luis Buñuel

Series: Monografías A
Copyright Date: 2005
Edition: NED - New edition
Published by: Boydell and Brewer,
Pages: 186
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  • Book Info
    A Companion to Luis Buñuel
    Book Description:

    Luis Buñuel (1900-1983) was one of the truly great film-makers of the twentieth century. Shaped by a repressive Jesuit education and a bourgeois family background, he reacted against both, escaped to Paris, and was soon embraced by André Breton's official surrealist group. His early films are his most aggressive and shocking, the slicing of the eyeball in Un Chien andalou (1929) one of the most memorable episodes in the history of cinema. The Forgotten Ones (1950) and He (1952), made in Mexico, were followed, from 1960, in Spain and France, by the films for which he is best known: Viridiana (1961), Belle de jour (1966), Tristana (1970), The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie (1972), and That Obscure Object of Desire (1977). BR> Gwynne Edwards analyses the films in the context of Buñuel's personal obsessions - sex, bourgeois values, and religion - suggesting that the film-maker experienced a degree of sexual inhibition surprising in a surrealist. GWYNNE EDWARDS is Professor of Spanish at the University of Wales, Aberystwyth.

    eISBN: 978-1-84615-384-6
    Subjects: History, Film Studies

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-v)
  3. List of Illustrations
    (pp. vi-vi)
    (pp. vii-x)
    (pp. 1-16)

    The first half of the twentieth century is arguably, from an historical, cultural and artistic point of view, the most interesting period in modern times. In historical terms, no other era has witnessed two wars of such catastrophic proportions, and no previous age has experienced such a cultural and artistic explosion as that which saw the appearance, over a relatively short space of time, of movements as innovative and dynamic as Cubism, Dadaism, Expressionism, Futurism and Surrealism. The creative artists who came to the fore during the first thirty years of the century have become familiar throughout the world. In...

    (pp. 17-46)

    Luis Buñuel, without question one of the outstanding film-directors of the twentieth century, has always been regarded, together with such talents as Salvador Dalí, Max Ernst, René Magritte and Paul Éluard, as one of the great surrealist creative artists. In the 1920s his association with Salvador Dalí led to the making ofUn Chien andalouin 1929, immediately acclaimed by André Breton, leader of the Paris surrealist group, as a true surrealist film. Its combined elements of shock, horror, dream, sex, illogicality and anti-bourgeois sentiments, utterly at odds with conventional film-making and all an essential part of surrealist thinking, are...

    (pp. 47-81)

    Given that the surrealists advocated freedom from the restrictions of conventional social and moral values, it is hardly surprising that sexual freedom should have been high on their list of priorities. To exercise this kind of freedom was, after all, to be true to one’s instincts and to oneself, as well as to strike out at the stifling restrictions of bourgeois society and the narrow-minded moral instruction of, in particular, the Catholic Church. Buñuel, in describing his attraction to Surrealism, drew attention to the importance the surrealists placed on passion as part of their opposition to traditional values: ‘It was...

    (pp. 82-111)

    Dadaism, the revolutionary artistic movement that emerged in different European countries around 1916 and that preceded Surrealism, was, in effect, an angry and outraged reaction to the values of contemporary society, and was fuelled even more by the senseless destruction of the First World War, which many saw as the consequence of those values and beliefs. The fate of millions of young men dragooned into fighting for their country and exposed by their superiors to the most terrible conditions – clinging mud, stinking trenches, endless shelling, mustard gas, disease, hunger and, in many cases, death or chronic illness and injury...

    (pp. 112-142)

    Surrealist opposition to the conventional values embodied in western society and embraced by the bourgeoisie in particular, inevitably meant that religion, and especially the kind of morality advocated by the Catholic Church, would become a major focus of attack. As we have already seen, freedom of all kinds lay at the heart of surrealist beliefs, be it the freedom from the dictates of reason allowed by instinct and passion, the freedom associated with the imagination, or that connected with dreams and the expression of the unconscious mind. Christianity, on the other hand, based in part on the dictates of the...

    (pp. 143-148)

    Luis Buñuel’s career as a film-maker was extremely long – fromUn Chien andalouin 1929 toThat Obscure Object of Desirein 1977 – very largely consistent in terms of themes and technique, and singularly brilliant. It falls roughly, as the preceding chapters suggest, into three parts, though it is important to emphasise that these are not mutually exclusve, for Buñuel’s work is distinguished by recurring personal, social and religious preoccupations. The first period corresponds to the years 1929 to 1934 and the completion of his three unmistakably surrealist films:Un Chien andalou, L’Âge d’orandLas Hurdes. The...

    (pp. 149-163)
    (pp. 164-168)
    (pp. 169-170)
  14. INDEX
    (pp. 171-176)
  15. Back Matter
    (pp. 177-177)