Comotose Footsy and other Delights: Authorial Identification, and the Depiction of Perverted Desire in the Films of Luis Bunuel

Essay by superclownUniversity, Bachelor'sA, September 2008

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Comotose Footsy and other DelightsAuthorial Identification and the Depiction of Perverted Desire in the Films of Luis BunuelWatching the films of Luis Bunuel must be a delight for any scholar who derives pleasure from compiling an in-depth critical analysis. As an artist who was not afraid to admit the he is “...a man of obsessions”1 , Bunuel’s notoriety was highly dependent on the manner in which his films repeatedly addressed a very precise assemblage of themes. Depending on one’s general adherence to auteur theory, and interpretation of its’ specific principals, Bunuel’s filmic predictability can be cited as either his crowning achievement, or as perhaps his greatest misgiving as a director. If it were not for Bunuel’s creative association with painter Salvador Dali, and his subsequent reputation as a surrealist, these recurring tendencies would most likely not have been with greeted with the same level of enthusiasm. When questioned about the unconscious sub-text of his post-Dali work, Bunuel responded “I have always been faithful to certain principals of my surrealist period, and these have come into play”2.

Thanks in-part to statements such as this, it becomes nearly impossible to separate the unconscious desires of Luis Bunuel from those of his fictional protagonists, at least in the context of an critical examinination his films.

Among Bunuel’s most commonly addressed themes, were those which reflect absurdist social hierarchy, and the male bourgeoisie quest for the fulfillment of seemingly unattainable sexual desires. Taking Bunuel’s reputation as a surrealist into consideration, as well as his remarks about being raised as a member of aristocracy, it becomes apparent that his films function as an attempt to reflect his own unconscious desires, and condemn the societal structures which produced them. Many of Bunuel’s most memorable protagonists are reflective of his own victimization, which can be credited...