Queering Buñuel: Sexual Dissidence and Psychoanalysis in his Mexican and Spanish Cinema (International Library of Cultural Studies)
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As the father of cinematic Surrealism, extensive critical attention has been devoted to Luis Buñuel’s cinema. Much has been written about his first Surrealist films of the 1920s and 1930s and the French art movies of the 1960s and 1970s. However, here for the first time is a queer re-reading of Buñuel’s Spanish-language films allowing us to view Buñuel’s cinema through a lens of queer spectatorship. Focusing on the films Buñuel produced in Mexico and Spain during the 1950s and 1960s, Julián Daniel Gutiérrez-Albilla argues not that Buñuel’s films have a homosexual subplot, but that there are multiple forms of identity, subjectivity and sexuality present in these films.
Queering Buñuel brings together the fields of film studies, feminist and queer theory, Hispanic studies, psychoanalysis and art theory. Gutiérrez-Albilla succeeds in reconceptualizing Buñuel’s Mexican and Spanish films beyond geographical, historical and disciplinary boundaries, questioning not just how we see Buñuel, but also how we see cinema.
MY MOTHER, SISTERS, AND LUIZ EDUARDO Published in 2008 by Tauris Academic Studies, an imprint of I.B.Tauris & Co Ltd 6 Salem Road, London W2 4BU 175 Fifth Avenue, New York NY 10010 www.ibtauris.com In the United States of America and Canada distributed by Palgrave Macmillan, a division of St Martin’s Press, 175 Fifth Avenue, New York NY 10010 Copyright © 2008 Julián Daniel Gutiérrez-Albilla The right of Julián Daniel Gutiérrez-Albilla to be identified as the author of this work has been asserted
codes of female allure and elegance.’75 After this presentation of Evans’s and Mulvey’s views on the dialectical relationship between cosmetic femininity and abjection, I follow Franco’s notion of the body of the city to draw an analogy between the monstrous otherness – to use Evans’s term – located behind the cosmetic masquerade of femininity in the body of Pedro’s mother and what is repressed in or excluded from the construction of the body of the modern city. The latter is a ‘ciudad rota,
with hallucinations of the unstructured Real, part of which cannot be accounted for by language. Samuels argues that, for Lacan, while the basis of moral law is found in repression, the symbolic order associates jouissance with a mechanism of social exclusion in order to destroy the Real. This operation in the symbolic reveals the fear of a symbolically produced form of bitextual difference, to use Samuels’s terminology. The irrationality of the entrapment serves to subvert the rule of the
phrase, as a way of connecting the experience of film perception and cognition with habits of touching. According to Hallas, this distinctive way of ‘pausing over peripheral details’ contributes in great deal to the formation of our queer identities.27 Inspired by Kristeva’s psychoanalytic interpretative method, and, indeed, a queer spectatorial practice of engaging with the peripheral detail, as Hallas remarks, I consider how some of the apparently insignificant details in Buñuel’s films
of critical discourse and artistic practice and this serves to re-enact psychic fantasies and anxieties. While my methodology is mainly psychoanalytic, I also draw on a wide range of approaches and theorists from feminism, queer theory and poststructuralism, as well as psychoanalysis, in order to reinterpret and reorient these approaches in relation to my own queer reading. I also stage an intertextual relationship between Buñuel’s films and surrealist-informed visual artistic practices that