Synopses & Reviews
“The period in Luis Buñuel’s career between 1930 (L’Âge d’or) and 1938, when he left Europe and went into exile, is the one we know the least about. From Gubern (an expert in Spanish cinema) and Hammond (an expert on Surrealism), we learn a great deal we didn’t know about his filmmaking, and about how it was intertwined with his politics.”—Bill Krohn, author of Luis Buñuel: Chimera
“An indispensable book for the Buñuel scholar and important to those interested in the history of Spanish film, the in-workings of the Surrealist movement, and the European left-wing political scene from the late twenties through the Spanish Civil War.”—Julie Jones, University of New Orleans
“Notable for original research, careful scholarship and new light [it] throw[s]. . . . Absorbing reading for anyone interested in the life and times of Luis Buñuel.”—Cineaste
“Gubern and Hammond excel at balancing Buñuel’s self-interested accounts with those of others. . . . This beautifully produced volume represents a major contribution to a Buñuel scholarship. Summing Up: Highly recommended.”—CHOICE
The turbulent years of the 1930s were of profound importance in the life of Spanish film director Luis Buñuel (1900–1983). He joined the Surrealist movement in 1929 but by 1932 had renounced it and embraced Communism. During the Spanish Civil War (1936–39), he played an integral role in disseminating film propaganda in Paris for the Spanish Republican cause.
Luis Buñuel: The Red Years, 1929–1939 investigates Buñuel’s commitment to making the politicized documentary Land without Bread (1933) and his key role as an executive producer at Filmófono in Madrid, where he was responsible in 1935–36 for making four commercial features that prefigure his work in Mexico after 1946. As for the republics of France and Spain between which Buñuel shuttled during the 1930s, these became equally embattled as left and right totalitarianisms fought to wrest political power away from a debilitated capitalism.
Where it exists, the literature on this crucial decade of the film director’s life is scant and relies on Buñuel’s own self-interested accounts of that complex period. Román Gubern and Paul Hammond have undertaken extensive archival research in Europe and the United States and evaluated Buñuel’s accounts and those of historians and film writers to achieve a portrait of Buñuel’s “Red Years” that abounds in new information.
About the Author
Román Gubern is professor at the Universitat Autónoma de Barcelona and has been a guest researcher at MIT. He is author of numerous screenplays for film and television and of more than forty books on cinema, popular culture, and semiotics, including 1936–1939: La Guerra de España en la pantalla. Paul Hammond is author and editor of several books, including The Shadow and Its Shadow: Surrealist Writings on the Cinema. Among his many translations is A Panorama of American Film Noir by Borde and Chaumeton. Both authors live in Barcelona.
Table of Contents
List of Illustrations
List of Abbreviations
1 The Militant Surrealist
2 The Production of L'Âge d'or
3 A Fecund Scandal
4 A Brief Stay in Hollywood: November 1930 to February 1931
5 The Coming of the Spanish Second Republic
6 A Stormy Year: May 1931 to June 1932
7 Time-Serving at Paramount-Joinville
8 The Mutations of L'Âge d'or and Other Projects
9 From Las Hurdes to Terre sans pain
10 Dubbing at Warner Bros.
11 Commerce, Art, and Politics
13 The Outbreak of the Spanish Civil War
14 A Two-Year Mission in Paris: September 1936 to September 1938