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Around the selection 2000

Tribute to Luis Buñuel

To mark the centenary of his birth, the Cannes festival is getting together with
the Spanish film industry, to pay tribute to Luis Buñuel.

From the emblematic "The Golden Age" (1930) to the "The Discreet Charm of
the Bourgeoisie", from "Belle de jour" to the "Diary of a Chambermaid", his only
preoccupation was with how the images should be interpreted:
"Instead of trying to explain them, one would better off accepting them as they
are. We should be satisfied with knowing if they are repugnant, moving or
attractive to us."

The Cannes tribute will take the form of three events:
- the inauguration, for Cannes 2000, of the Palace's new Luis Bunuel room.
- an original exhibition organized by L'Instituto de la Cinematografia y de las
Artes Audiovisuales entitled "The Secret World of Bunuel".
- an exceptional projection of "Viridiana", the Palme d'Or winner in 1961, on
Sunday, May 14, in the presence of specially invited artists.

"Luis Buñuel didn't believe in God: so I wonder if he managed to avoid going
through Purgatory.

A hundred years already: and echoes everywhere. The miraculous meeting of
Lorca, Buñuel, and Dali, at the Students Residence in Madrid, has long been
considered the major event of all Spanish culture.

The name of Buñuel has begun to take on, here and there, something of a rare
prestige. Streets are named after him, busts are erected. Carlos Fuentes goes
as far as to say that Buñuel revealed Mexico to him, because, until then, he
never dared look at himself. The beatification band-wagon is underway.

Impossible to file him away with a clear label. He immediately escapes and turns
up in places no-one thought of looking. This insistent presence is undoubtedly
due to his work but also to the man himself, to his simple and unassailable
physique, his sincere gaze and his flawless honesty - especially when it came
to speaking about his work -, to his unexpected moral stance, for a surrealist.
His films and his life were inseparable.

"What I won't do for a dollar," he said, "I won't do for a million dollars". And it
was true.

What to say of his kindness? Of his friendship? I don't have enough room. But
even without speaking about those qualities, which he valued above all others,
there are already more than enough good reasons for him to miss out on
Purgatory "

Jean-Claude Carrière (April 2000)

Luis Buñuel recounts: "Viridiana won the Palme d'or and a Dominican Father,
present at the time as the festival's correspondent for the Osservatore Romano,
wrote that Viridiana blasphemed against the holy oils and that cinema in general
was morally lost etc. This idea passed from the Osservatore to Spain, to the
episcopate and eventually to members of the government. The director of
Spanish Cinematography, who had received the Palme d'Or awarded to the
film, was relieved of his duties. The Minister for Information resigned, but Franco
refused his resignation. I knew that Viridiana was not entirely to the taste of the
Franco regime, but I hadn't imagined either that it would be a kind of
cinematographic bombshell, nor that it would remain prohibited in Spain for
such a long time*."

*Viridiana was banned in Spain from 1961 to 1977.

Thanks to the Institute of Cinematography and Audiovisual Arts.
With the support of Canal+.
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