Although regarded as the greatest artist of Spanish cinema Luis Buñuel only made three films that are Spanish by nationality. His exile from his homeland at the end of the Spanish Civil War resulted in extended periods in Mexico and France. Despite this displacement, Spain was never far from Buñuel’s mind. The peasant culture of the villages of Calanda and Zaragoza, many of them dating to the Middle-Ages, greatly influenced his imagination during his childhood. The Spanish literary tradition, represented by Lope de Vega, Cervantes and the writers of picaresque stories, remained constant touchstones. Strongest of all was the distinctly Spanish nature of his Catholicism; he would retain its influence long after he renounced the teachings of the Church. At the University of Madrid his friendship with poet Federico Garcia Lorca and painter Salvador Dalí would play a major role in the avant-garde of the 1920s. It was during this period that he discovered the works of Sigmund Freud. His insight… read more
"I also like Kubrick's Paths of Glory, Fellini's Roma, Eisenstein's Battleship Potemkin, Marco Ferreri's La Grand Bouffe (a tragedy of the flesh and a monument to hedonism), Jacques Becker's Goupi Mains- rouges, and Rene Clement's Forbidden Games. And I adore Fritz Lang's early films, Buster Keaton, the Marx Brothers, and Has's film of Potocki's novel Saragossa Manuscript. (I saw this film a record-break- ing three times and convinced Alatriste to buy it for Mexico in exchange for Simon of the Desert.) I also admire Renoir's prewar films, Bergman's Persona, and Fellini's La strada, Nights of Cabiria, and La doice vita. To my regret, I've never seen I vitelloni, but I distinctly remember walking out of Casanova well before the end. I knew de Sica well and especially liked Shoeshine, Umberto D, and The Bicycle Thief, where he succeeded in making a machine the star of the movie. And I love the films of both von Stroheim and Sternberg. On the other hand, I detested From Here to Eternity, which seemed to me little more than a militaristic and xenophobic melo- drama. Vajda, too, delights me; I've never met him, but I like his films very much. A long time ago at the Cannes Festival, he declared that my early films inspired him to make movies, which reminds me of my own admiration for the early films of Fritz Lang and their instrumental role in determining the course of my life. There's some- thing very exciting about this secret continuum between films and countries. Other favorites of mine are Clouzot's Manon, Jean Vigo's L'Atafante, the delicious collection of English horror stories called Dead o f Night, Flaherty's White Shadows o f the South Seas, which I thought infinitely superior to his Tabu, which he made with Murnau, and Portrait ofJennie with Jennifer Jones, a mysterious, poetical, and largely misunderstood work. (On the other hand, I detested Rossel- lini's Open City; the scene with the tortured priest in one room and the German officer drinking champagne with a woman in his lap in the other seemed both facile and tactless.) Although I haven't seen his most recent films (I never go to the movies at all anymore), Carlos Saura is another director whose work I admire. I loved La caza and La prima Angelica. In fact, Saura and I have known each other for a long time; an Aragonian like me, he even persuaded me to play the hangman in his Lhtopw un bandicio. I also loved Huston's Treasure o f the Sierra Madre, which was shot near San Jose Puma. A great director and a wonderfully warm person, Huston saw Nazarin while he was in Mexico and spent the next morning telephoning all over Europe and arranging for it to be shown at Cannes." - My Last Sigh: The Autobiography of Luis Bunuel
"In his hands, time, space and social convention became meaningless constructs and cinema an arena of wild possibility."