About us
Artists Luis Buñuel
Luis Buñuel Photo

Luis Buñuel

Spanish Filmmaker

Movement: Surrealism

Born: February 22, 1900 - Calanda, Spain

Died: July 29, 1983 - Mexico City, Mexico

Luis Buñuel Timeline

Quotes

"A film is like an involuntary imitation of a dream. Thus, on the screen, the nocturnal voyage into the unconscious begins. Time and space become flexible, chronological order and relative values of time duration no longer correspond to reality."
Luis Buñuel
"Man is guilty."
Luis Buñuel
"Surrealism taught me that life has a moral meaning that man cannot ignore. Through Surrealism I discovered for the first time that man is not free."
Luis Buñuel
"I never made a film which went against my conscience or my convictions. I have never made a superficial, uninteresting film."
Luis Buñuel
"For me, throughout my life, coitus and sin have been the same thing."
Luis Buñuel
"Although I'm not sure why, I also have always felt a secret but constant link between the sexual act and death."
Luis Buñuel
"Waking dreams are as important, as unpredictable, and as powerful as those we have when we're asleep."
Luis Buñuel
"Buñuel, like an entomologist, has studied what we call love in order to expose beneath the ideology, mythology, platitudes and phraseologies the complete and bloody machinery of sex."
Henry Miller

"We exalted passion, mystification, black humour, the insult and the call of the abyss."

Luis Buñuel Signature

Synopsis

Luis Buñuel pioneered Surrealist cinema, becoming the filmmaker who most successfully achieved the movement's goals of liberation from linear, logical narrative. Unlike many Surrealist films by other directors, such as Man Ray or Hans Richter, Buñuel is never "artsy" or stylized: there is an urgent, shocking, and visceral quality to his films - even at their most absurd moments. Buñuel went on to create harsh, unconventional realist films as well, but even in this mode his films contain startling juxtapositions of the real and the surreal. All of his major films, from Un Chien Andalou (1929) to That Obscure Object of Desire (1977), explore the torment and complexity of the human sexual need through uncompromising imagery. His films resist and criticize facile societal or religious solutions to the problems of human existence - his work at various times was derided with equal vehemence by the Catholic Church, Fascist Spain, and the Mexican Communist Party.

Key Ideas

Surrealism broke new ground in literature through the practice of automatic writing, and in painting, it achieved startling but static dream-like images. Buñuel realized that the medium of film could go beyond painting and actually portray the disjointed visual narratives of human dreams in action. His first two Surrealist films capture the absence of moral filtering, the lack of will and logic that characterize the oneiric (dreaming) state, as if Buñuel had managed to place his camera inside actual dreams and record them.
Buñuel's images of violence or cruelty are very successful at assaulting the viewer's complaisance, destroying comforting assumptions about existence and reality, and awakening the most basic and hidden fears lodged in the subconscious mind.
His films provoke not only intellectual and emotional responses, but powerfully affect the viewer physically through repellent images of insects, bodily waste, decaying carcasses, amputation, and other shocking desecrations of human body parts. They involve and interact with the viewer in a way that is the hallmark of postmodernist art (many, many years later).

Biography

Luis Buñuel Photo

Childhood and Education

Buñuel was born into a wealthy and devout Catholic family in Calanda, Spain. It was a place of deep faith, where many literally believed in 'The Miracle of Calanda', in which an amputee had his leg restored by the Virgin Mary. Buñuel's strict Jesuit education equated sex with sin, a connection that, once made, ran deep and never left him. Buñuel also saw the divide between rich and poor, noting that poor children would stare open-mouthed at their luxurious home. By sixteen, he had doubts about the logic of the Bible, seeing the impossible conflict between human desire and the Church's taboos, and how this forced people into hypocrisy and self-deception.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Luis Buñuel Biography Continues

Influences and Connections

Influences on Artist
Artists, Friends, Movements
Influenced by Artist
Artists, Friends, Movements
Luis Buñuel
Interactive chart with Luis Buñuel's main influences, and the people and ideas that the artist influenced in turn.
View Influences Chart

Artists

Fritz LangFritz Lang
Buster KeatonBuster Keaton

Personal Contacts

Frederico Garcia LorcaFrederico Garcia Lorca
Salvador DalíSalvador Dalí
André BretonAndré Breton

Movements

SurrealismSurrealism

Influences on Artist
Luis Buñuel
Luis Buñuel
Years Worked: 1928 - 1977
Influenced by Artist

Artists

Alfred HitchcockAlfred Hitchcock
Pedro AlmodovarPedro Almodovar

Personal Contacts

Gabriel FigueroaGabriel Figueroa

Movements

SurrealismSurrealism

If you see an error or typo, please:
tell us
Cite this page

Content compiled and written by Jen Farren

Edited and revised, with Synopsis and Key Ideas added by Alfredo Franco

" Artist Overview and Analysis". [Internet]. . TheArtStory.org
Content compiled and written by Jen Farren
Edited and revised, with Synopsis and Key Ideas added by Alfredo Franco
Available from:
[Accessed ]