Luis Buñuel: A Subversive Comedian?

Luis Buñuel

Lenny Bruce, John Waters, Michael Moore, George Carlin, Larry David, Mark Twain, Jonathan Swift – what do they all have in common? They are great, subversive, comedians. I was not surprised to see their names when I was clicking through this photo gallery. But then I read a name made me pause for second: Luis Buñuel.

Not that a Luis Buñuel film isn’t funny because . But I first and always associate Buñuel with Un Chien Andalou, having seen it in practically every film class I have ever taken.

As you can see from the opening clip of this (absolutely fantastic) film or even a later film such as Los Olvidados, Buñuel doesn’t scream hysterically funny. Which is why I suppose he has been named a subversive comedian.

Looking at Buñuel’s later films, his work is indeed clever and incredibly humorous. Aside Un Chien Andalou, I always think of Viridiana when I consider Buñuel. I first saw this film when I was in high school, before I knew anything about Buñuel, his career and his filmmaking style (hello, Surrealism). In one scene, the characters pose as though they are in Da Vinci’s The Last Supper. Now that is a funny sequence.

Buñuel’s humor is just that; intelligently attacking institutions, like the Catholic Church, in a manner that made people think while also challenging filmmaking norms.

What are your thoughts on Buñuel? Sound off below.

Happy Cinco De Mayo

If you are interested in a good Mexican film to watch in honor of Cinco de Mayo then look furhter than Los Olvidados (The Forgotten Ones). Directed by Luis Buñuel, this 1950 film follows a group of children who live in the slums of Mexico City. The film combines neo-realist and surrealist elements to tell the story of this street gang.

Los Olvidados is the film that earned Buñuel international recognition; he won the Best Director prize at the 1951 Cannes Film Festival. It is considered to be one of the greatest Mexican films of all time.

Buñuel would direct films in Mexico until 1955 and they are definitely worth checking out. I, for one, will be revisiting Los Olvidados as research for my thesis.