Buñuel in Brooklyn: 5 Must-See Movies From the Father of Surrealism at BAM

Read more

One of the fathers of surrealism, Spanish director Luis Buñuel left a haunting legacy in cinema. You might have heard of him in an art or film class for his striking images that could suggest violence, allure, and revolution all in one. So while you might not be fully recovered from Buñuel’s collaboration with Salvador Dalí in the creepy short Un Chen Andalou… [Click play if you dare]

[insert-video youtube=bysxnMXqX28]

Here’s a few suggestions from the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s Buñuel Restrospective that are (potentially) less-nightmare inducing, or maybe not.

The Adventures of Robinson Crusoe

[insert-video youtube=f195WWXMt-A]

Buñuel’s only full English film is an interesting adaptation of the summer reading list favorite. Playing on his interest in morality, Buñuel explores the crisis of Crusoe’s faith in the face of his new castaway life. This is one explanation your 8th grade teacher probably never dove into.

Belle de Jour

[insert-video youtube=FJXLCYZMGQ8]


A rich wife played by French actress Catherine Deneuve finds sexual liberation from her bland home life through moonlighting as a kinky prostitute. Buñuel takes on the swinging ‘60s in the only way he can, with a handy amount of dream sequences and S&M. Don’t worry, in a darkened theater, no one can see you blush.

The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie

[insert-video youtube=QZfCoTvbXXc]


You’re invited to a fancy dinner party, but you’re not allowed to leave no matter who or what comes through the door. And in the twisted hands of Buñuel, that means dreams, pasts, and politics are all invited. You may have to use your best table manners, but you won’t have to fake laugh at this absurdist comedy.

Mexican Bus Ride (Subida al cielo)

[insert-video youtube=FGNx9pnUv_Y]


Do I even need to tell you it gets weird at one point? Mexican Bus Ride is another interesting character study of various slices of society, the well-off and poor sit alongside the silly and serious. Now the room is on wheels, but it doesn’t mean you can escape from the strangeness of everyday life.

Daughter of Deceit (La hija del engaño)

[insert-video youtube=0a-5WHmOeQM]


This rare gem bounces from drama to comedy in no time flat. Its unevenness is part of its unbalanced charm as Buñuel tells the story of a nightclub-owning father seeking to reconnect with the daughter he left behind in a loveless marriage. Daughter of Deceit is more straight forward than your typical (is there such a thing as a typical here?) Buñuel film, but it’s no less memorable.

The Luis Buñuel film series runs through August 15 at the BAMcinématek.