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Luis Buñuel

Buñuel, Luis (lōēsˈ bōnyōĕlˈ) [key], 1900–83, Spanish film director, b. Calanda, Aragón. In his best films, he used poetic, often bizarre imagery and black humor to question and undermine all claims of authority and knowledge. His adherence to surrealism can be seen clearly in his first film, Un Chien andalou (1928). This and his following film, L'Age d'or (1930), were made in Paris in collaboration with Salvadore Dalí. After a 20-year period of relative inactivity, Buñuel reemerged as a director in Mexico. Los olvidados (1949) combined a social critique of slum conditions in Mexico City with an interest in dreams and weird visual effects. He was at odds with social niceties and perpetually at war with the Roman Catholic Church as he exposed hypocrisy and the persistence of human cruelty. Viridiana (1961), a scurrilous allegory of Franco's Spain, was made there at the dictator's invitation and then banned. Many of his later works were made in France. Buñuel's other films include The Exterminating Angel (1962), Diary of a Chambermaid (1964), Belle de Jour (1966), The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie (1972), and That Obscure Object of Desire (1977).

See his autobiography, My Last Sigh (1982).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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