Luis Buñuel was way ahead of his time, lemme tell you. In my Sinemania! story, ‘Diary of a Surrealist Mad Man’, I explore the crazed life of the bizarre anarchistic Spanish filmmaker whose association with Salvador Dali represented both the high and the low points of his career.
In 1929, this diabolical duo created a very innovative surrealistic short called ‘Un Chien Andalou’. At the time, it was one damn groundbreaking movie and opened the door to the mad joy of the ‘free expression’ Dadaist movement. Buñuel and Dali teamed up again the following year for the scandalous film, ‘L’Age d’Or', but the ‘folie à deux’ of these wicked Spaniards started to run out of demented gas and they eventually drifted apart.
You can watch both movies in their entirety courtesy of YouTube.
After these two ‘Dada-boys’ went their separate ways, Buñuel gave Hollywood a shot with the expected result: the Yanks asked him to go jerk off his vitriolic syphilitic visions elsewhere. Mexico, on the other hand, dug his spunk and, in the late Forties, became his new home where he directed his most innovative and original movies (with stronger plots and a deeper humanitarian agenda) before moving back to Europe.
Francisco Franco’s fascist dictatorship was running out of steam. To prove to the world that he was a supporter of Spanish culture, Franco invited Buñuel to return to Spain, even helping him to finance his next movie, ‘Viridiana’ (1961). Buñuel, however, hated the dictator with a passion and didn’t hesitate to give him the bitter taste of blasphemy in exchange.
Sure enough, ‘Viridiana’ got banned in Spain but won the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival. I can’t imagine a better way to stick it to Francisco ‘asshole oppressor’ Franco! Viva la Revolucion!
The controversial Italian director Pier Paolo Pasolini liked to say: “Being shocked is a pleasure.” His equally irreverent countryman, Federico Fellini, stated, “Censorship is free publicity.” But as far as I’m concerned, the real pioneer of such mottos is Luis Buñuel. The perverse pleasure he got out of happily shocking the Vatican, fascists, and the bourgeoisie with his work was very ‘punk anarchist’! Move over Johnny Rotten! I invite you to read my illustrated look at Buñuel’s eccentric neurotic impulses and ‘shock-o-rama’ approach to art in my upcoming book. But, in the meantime, what I’ll do in my next post is titillate your curiosity about this nutty genius by exploring his obsession with both beautiful French women and… insects! Hola! So stay tooned for more Buñuel and find out what happened when Frogs met bugs!