Renowned for his surreal explorations of class division, Spanish-Mexican filmmaker Luis Buñuel’s films exist in a mercurial dreamscape that nevertheless offers a potent examination of our material world. It is no exaggeration to call Buñuel one of the greatest filmmakers to ever live, and certainly one of the most influential.
Two major 2022 arthouse releases could accurately be described as “Buñuellian”. Both Triangle of Sadness and The Menu, with their absurdist approach to lampooning the lifestyles of the privileged, are operating in a template formed by the late auteur. The fact that Buñuel’s work remains such a tangible influence on contemporary cinema speaks to his skill and insight as a director, and to the timelessness of his themes. Buñuel was a master at taking the elites down a peg, developing his own cinematic language to do so.
The pioneering artistry of Buñuel’s style has lost none of its impact. We defy anyone to resist the raw power of Los Olvidados, the claustrophobic thrills of The Exterminating Angel, or the uneasy provocations of Belle Du Jour. His expansive filmography is a treasure trove, teeming with excoriating comedy and bold formal choices.