Biography of Filmmakers and Moviemakers Luis Bunuel

About the famous Spanish filmmaker Luis Bunuel, history and biography of the moviemaker.

Luis Bunuel (1900- ). Born on February 22, 1900, in northeastern Spain, Bunuel was educated by Jesuits before he entered the University of Madrid at the age of 17. There he became friends with the poet and playwright Federico Garcia Lorca and the painter Salvador Dali.

Bunuel's 1st film, Un Chien Andalou, financed by his mother and made in collaboration with Dali, was a 20-minute surrealist short produced in 1928. The 1st feature film he directed, L'Age d'Or (The Golden Age), was so blatantly anti-Catholic and anti-upper class that Dali later renounced the project. When the film opened in Paris, a mob attacked the theater, tore apart the seats, and destroyed an art exhibit in the lobby. All prints of L'Age d'Or were quickly stored in film archives and not shown to the general public again until the late 1960s.

In 1932 Bunuel made Las Hurdes (Land without Bread), a brutal documentary about an impoverished rural area. When Franco took power in Spain after the Civil War, Bunuel was banned from the country. He lived for several years in the U.S. until he was forced to resign from his job at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City when it was discovered that he had directed L'Age d'Or. He also worked for the U.S. Army Film Division and as a dubbing expert for Warner Brothers.

In 1947, Bunuel settled in Mexico with his wife and 2 sons and made several successful commercial films, including Los Olvidados (released in the U.S. as The Young and the Damned, 1950), a harsh portrayal of juvenile delinquents and their struggle against conventional society, and Robinson Crusoe (1952).

In 1960, the Spanish Government, worried about its lack of cultural achievements, absolved Bunuel and invited him to make another film in Spain, this time with their blessing. The result, Viridiana, so outraged the Spanish authorities that they tried to confiscate all existing prints. Happily, they failed and the film was shown at the Cannes Film Festival where it won the top prize.

Since that time Luis Bunuel has made a series of consistently controversial, but highly successful, films including El Angel Exterminador (The Exterminating Angel), Belle de Jour, and The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie, which was awarded the Motion Picture Academy Award for the best foreign film in 1973. After over 45 years of filmmaking, Bunuel has vowed that he will never make another--but he has said this before.

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