Objects of Desire: The films of Luis Buñuel


The singular vision of filmmaker Luis Buñuel (1900–1983) is on display in this series which includes the classic surrealistic films Un Chien Andalou (1929) and L’âge d’Or (1930) and his Mexican films Los Olvidados (1951) and The Exterminating Angel (1962), amongst many more. A couple highlights:

Él (This Strange Passion), 1953
One of the highlights of Buñuel’s Mexican period is this delirious portrait of obsessive male desire which follows a wealthy man’s descent from love at first sight to blind paranoiac fear that his young wife cannot meet his ever escalating standards of ethics and purity. Reportedly famed psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan’s favorite film, Él is overripe with unshackled Freudian symbols and oneiric energy. Arturo de Córdova gives one of the great and most memorable performances of Buñuel’s entire cinema in his quaking portrait of a man gripped by the fear that his heart’s darkest desires might one day actually come true.

Ensayo De Un Crimen  (The Criminal Life Of Archibaldo De La Cruz), 1955
This perverse, horror-tinged comedy from the director’s Mexican period is a bizarro tale of music boxes, murder, and mannequins. Convinced from a young age that his music box has the power to kill, Archibaldo de la Cruz grows up to be a wannabe serial killer whose attempts at a sex-murder are repeatedly thwarted by kismet. Buñuel layers on the Grand Guignol touches (including a memorably macabre incineration of a dummy) in one of his most purely enjoyable films.

Washington, DC: Oct. 27 - Nov. 23. Full lineup and details here.