Luis Buñuel

On this date in 1900, surreal film director Luis Buñuel (née Luis Buñuel Portoles) was born in Calanda, Spain. After a strict Jesuit education gave him something to rebel against, he attended the university in Madrid, where one of his friends was Salvador Dali. Bunuel moved to Paris, where his first film was the 17-minute "Un chien andalou" ("An Andalousian Dog," 1929), whose shocking opening made a deep impression. His first feature was "L'Age d'Or," which attacked the church and the middle class, lifelong themes for Bunuel. After the Spanish Civil War, Buñuel moved to the United States. He worked as an editor at the Museum of Modern Art (1939-43) and as a film dubber for Warner Brothers, before moving to Mexico. He became a Mexican citizen in 1948. His riveting study of Mexican street urchins, "Los Olvidados" (1950) won him a "best director" award at the Cannes film festival. In 1961, General Franco invited Buñuel back to his birth land. The first film Buñuel directed again in his homeland was "Viridiana" (1961), about a novice nun with a lecherous uncle and a charitable streak. It was banned for blasphemy in Spain, but won the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival. Buñuel subsequently directed his best-known films, including "Journal d'une femme de chambre" (1964), with Jeanne Moreau and Catherine Deneuve, "Belle de jour" (1967), and the autobiographical "That Obscure Object of Desire" (1977). D. 1983.

“Thank God, I'm still an atheist.”

—Luis Bunuel, Paris Notes, Dec. 98/Jan. 99

Compiled by Annie Laurie Gaylor

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