Is it possible to identify certain filmic trends or “schools” in Buñuel’s work?
I don’t know if one can say that Buñuel really had a successor, but there are of course directors who have a similar relationship to film. David Lynch is someone in whose work you can always draw the line between the real and the imaginary. Perhaps that’s not Buñuel’s influence, but there is a very similar conception of the filmic image behind his work.
At a comprehensive showcase like the Retrospective, one runs the risk of telling, on the one hand, a finished story, while on the other hand one hopes to achieve an opening up. Will the Luis Buñuel Retrospective follow a certain dramatic logic?
First of all, we’re showing all of his works as a director. We’re also showing examples of work for which he was recognised as producer and scriptwriter and we’re also showing several documentaries about him. We have tried to combine the known with the unknown. Of course, when it comes to planning the programme, we had to make sure that the “great” films got the most prominent programme slots. At the same time, we hope that lesser known aspects of Buñuel’s work – such as the Mexican period, which we also want to give prominent placement – will contribute to a new perspective on the filmmaker.
Will the programme be divided into separate blocks, with titles like “Buñuel’s Mexican Cinema”?
No, we won’t be doing that. If you show the entire oeuvre, you have to try to include as much as possible. On our two screens in CinemaxX Potsdamer Platz and in the Zeughauskino we will be showing a lot of films more than once – sometimes twice or three times even. As with every Retrospective, we hope to give as many viewers as possible an opportunity to watch as many films as possible.
With a filmmaker such as Buñuel, were you able to still discover films that were hardly known or that had never been shown publicly? Was it especially difficult to acquire prints?
Yes, one always has the feeling that, with Buñuel, whom everyone knows, everything must exist in high quality. But that’s not the case. Several films, especially those made in Spain in the 1930s, are only available as relatively poor prints. Therefore we still don’t know whether we can really show all of them. We will certainly show the halfway well-preserved ones, because that’s also an important aspect of his lifework. We also found in our research that not all films are available in optimal versions, for example, with English subtitles. Since the issue of language is of course important for our international audience, we won’t only show films in original version, we will be adding subtitles to many films ourselves.
Long-time friend and collaborator at the Berlinale
Which guests can visitors of the Retrospective look forward to?
The oldest son Juan Luis Buñuel and Buñuel’s long-time scriptwriter Jean-Claude Carrière have both confirmed they will be attending. Both will also discuss Buñuel’s work in the complimentary programme. And we’re confident that a documentary, in which both are involved, can be premiered as part of the Retrospective. It’s called The Final Script and it’s about the different places where Buñuel made his films, a view on the work of Luis Buñuel from the point of view of his son and his scriptwriter.
Does his son also make films?