Few filmmakers in the history of cinema have had the impact of Luis Buñuel. From his earliest collaborations with Salvador Dalí, to his late-career masterpieces, passing through his long stint in the Mexican film industry, the droopy-eyed Spaniard constantly challenged convention and reinvented cinematic language. Along the way, his imaginative imagery – a blade slicing across an eyeball, “The Last Supper” recreated by beggars – has become synonymous with cinema itself.
Yet while Buñuel’s films all bear the unmistakable stamp of his authorship, his career spanned five decades, three countries, silent and black-and-white, sound and color. Which is to say that anyone willing to take a deep dive into his 32-title filmography will find a breathtaking diversity of styles and subjects that speaks to the patient evolution of a true artist.
Luckily for audiences in the Washington, DC area – and anyone else willing to make the pilgrimage to our nation’s capital – AFI Silver Theater and the American University School of Communication are bringing a full twenty of these films to big screens across the DC area from October 27 – November 23.
The series, entitled Objects of Desire: The Films of Luis Buñuel, will cover the whole range of Buñuel’s career, with plenty of space for his less appreciated, but equally transgressive commercial work in the Mexican film industry. Films like Él and Susana, which brought some of the filmmaker’s signature obsessions to the realm of popular melodrama, stand alongside iconic later works like Belle du Jour and The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie.
Then of course there are foundational works like Un Chien Andalou, which casually created cinematic surrealism in 1929, or Los Olvidados, which masterfully mixed Italian neorealism with his own brand of surrealism to explore the lives of Mexico City street kids. To boot, many of the screenings will feature introductions by renowned film programmers and scholars, so you can enjoy the films and stock up on crucial film knowledge while your at it.
Check out the full program here.