Luis Bunuel: Reality and Illusion

Bunuel is a man as old as this century.
show both his age and the year.

1. FACT

Thus the numbers below

00 February 22 born at Calanda, Zaragoza, Aragon.
12 "Bachillerato" Jesuit school, Zaragoza.

17 Madrid, Student Residence.

18 Agronomic Engineering School.

20 Literature and philosophy at Central University.

23 Degree and Paris.

24 Assistant editor in French film laboratories.

26 With Jean Epstein, assistant director Mauprat (George Sand),
La Sirene des Tropiques, with Josephine Baker.

27 First assistant on La Chute de la Maison Usher /The Fall
of the House of Usher.

28 First film as director UN CHIEN ANDALOU, Paris.

30 L'AGE D'OR, also written with Salvador Dali. Contract
with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Hollywood, 1,000 pesos per
annum. Incinerates the contract after three months, and
back to France.

32 Spain, LAS HURDES/TERRE SANS PAIN/LAND
WITHOUT BREAD, a documentary on poverty.

33 Paris, with Pierre Unik, a script for a surreal Le Haute de
Hurlevent/Wuthering Heights. Fire at studios, produced:

35 Don Quintin El Amargao/The Bitter Man and La Hija de
Juan Simon/ Juan Simon's Daughter.

36 Quien Me Quiere a Mi I Who Loves Me and Centinela
A lerta I A I erf Sentinel

37 Civil War. Edited newsreels including ESPANA LEAL EN
ARMAS. A sound version of LAS HURDES in Paris.

38 to 41 Collaborated on documentaries at Museum of Modern

Art, New York, including TEJIDOS CANCEROSOS/

CANCEROUS TISSUES and AVES EMIGRATORIAS/

MIGRATING BIRDS.
41 Six year contract with Warner Brothers, laboratory work.
47 Mexico, prepared La Casa de Bernard a Alba j The House of Bernarda Alba,
48 Mexico, GRAN CASINO.

49 EL GRAN C ALAVERA/ THE GREAT MERRYMAKER.

50 LOS OLVID ADOS/ THE FORGOTTEN ONES/THE
YOUNG AND THE DAMNED, Directors' Prize, Cannes
Film Festival. "The only film I am responsible for since
TERRE SANS PAIN.

51 SUSAN A, LA HIJA DEL ENGADO, UNA MUJER SIN
AMOR /WOMAN WITHOUT LOVE, SUBIDA AL
CIELO.

52 EL BRUTO/THE BRUTE, with Pedro Armendariz and
Katy Jurado

ROBINSON CRUSOE, with Dan O'Herlihy and James

Fernandez.

EL /HE, with Arturo de Cordova and Delia Garces.

53 ABISMOS DE PASION/WUTHERING HEIGHTS (not
the version of 33).

54 LA ILLUSION VIAJA EN TR AN VI A /ILLUSION
TRAVELS BY STREETCAR. EL RIO Y LA MUERTA/
THE RIVER AND DEATH.

55 THE CRIMINAL LIFE OF ARCHIBALDO DE LA
CRUZ. CELA S'APPELLE L'AURORE.

56 LA MORT EN CE JARDIN, with Simone Signoret, Georges
Marchse and Charles Vanel, made in France and Mexico.

58 NAZARIN.

59 LA FIEVRE MONTE A EL PAO, with Gerard Philipe,
Jean Servais and Maria Felix (Philipe's last film).

60 THE YOUNG ONE, with Zachary Scott.

61 Asked by Cuban Institute of Film Art and Industry to pre-
pare two films The Failures of Providence Street and The
Young Hero and plans twenty films using scripts by such
writers as Jean- Paul Sartre and Francoise Sagan.
Returns to Spain and makes VIRIDIANA. Awarded
Golden Palm at Cannes Festival.

2. FANTASY

The above information is hard and real, the skeleton of the man,
hooked on to time and the work pinned down in hard type. Treasure
it, preserve it, copy it, blow it up into a photomural. Regard it, remem-
ber to remember it, tear it out and put it in your wallet. Act on it,
subvert your way into the nearest film society and rig the ballot and run
a programme of Bufiuel, not for the others but just for yourself. Spend
all your money on hiring projectors and what copies you can get your
hands on*.

♦The key to this and boundless information is the British Film Institute. 81 Dean
street, London W.I., who have a warm, cheerful and most helpful staff who can
tell you who has what film and what size, how much, and how to get hold of it.

The list is designed to prod the sluggish memories of the lazy con-
sumers of anarchist literature, to stir their murky minds, to throw up
half digested reviews in all the posh Sundays they've read in the past
fifteen years, to trigger their minds with misgivings over the films they
missed and the ones they heard about and the ones they were glad they
didn't see. Do you dimly remember that season of Bunuel's at the
National Film Theatre in the Summer of '55? I am rather reluctant to
advocate further passive consumption of entertainment and art, but in
Bunuel's case I offer active participation, the scouring of What's On to
find the odd fleapit or Classic or Odeon at Harlesden that might be
showing a Bufiuel on Sunday. An arduous three change trip by public
transport into strange wastelands to see a film. As my mother used to
say, only the things that you have to fight for are the things that you
really enjoy.

As far as time goes, Bufiuel has a thirty-two year lead on me, and
I have very little qualification to be writing about him, except that I
was a pre-television child and therefore a cinema kid, a particularly
bad /good one, an avid consumer in fact. It all started when I left the
Wolf Cubs owing 4s. 9d. subs, and I was precipitated into the nine-
pennies and averaged one hundred and eighty visits a year, and all
double features too. The addiction reached its height in the summer
of 1948 when in one delirious week I saw nineteen films. I put myself
on a cure and tapered off my shots, but even in my twenty-fifth year if
I didn't get to a cinema every ten days I suffered withdrawal symptoms.
Bufiuel, Welles, Vigo, Chaplin and the Marx Brothers can bring on
another jag right away (Ingmar Bergman was the monkey on my back
the year before last).

I have laboured you with my own case history in order that you
respect, and act on, my recommendation. I have refrained from the
usual journalese of quoting some juicy passage from any one or all of
the films to whet your flagging jaded palate. I have suffered and
enjoyed countless (about 4,000 in fact) films, mostly Bones, and offer
this saving in time. Approaches I haven't tried are those which take
a psychological or national character view of the man, you can see how
easy it would be to caricature Bufiuel as a Spanish Hero of his Time.
Another is the fate of art cinema versus Hollywood and the hard world
of hard cash. Dwight Macdonaid who is now writing on films in
I i squire, is well worth pursuing in this connection and Orson Welles has
gone through it and is highly articulate about it

Even for the sake of Anarchy and anarchy I cannot claim Bufiuel
for our side, but to raise my consumer's flag again, here is the only man
of (he cinema that I would be a one man procession for, a man that can
make films that kick my guts, humble me, excite me, wet my eyes for
mo and fill me with compassion. There they all are, in CAPITALS
above, the failures and triumphs. See them.

Posted By

Reddebrek
Jun 4 2016 08:36

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Anarchy: a journal of anarchist ideas

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Battlescarred
Jun 4 2016 11:42

You've put Brunel rather than Bunuel in the heading