Agustín Sánchez Vidal has argued that Los olvidados almost perfectly blends the three principal strands of Buñuel’s cinematic career: modernism, commercialism, and a politically committed (documentary) realism. My argument here will be double. First, that this three-way mix can be traced back to the 1930s; and second, that Buñuel’s work invites us to reconsider not only the significance of Spanish cultural production and the Spanish Civil War in the history of modernism, but more generally the importance for its development of the interaction and integration of aesthetics (the identification of cultural value with formal innovation and artistic integrity), politics (the need or desire to intervene in society or fight for a cause), and the market (producing profitable cultural products, and accumulating cultural capital). If modernism is often associated with a quest for purity – a purity linked to notions of authenticity, integrity, high seriousness, and truth – Buñuel stands out as the rebellious champion of a decidedly impure modernism.
Faber, Sebastiaan. 2012. "Buñuel’s Impure Modernism (1929-1950)." Modernist Cultures 7: 56-76.
Edinburgh University Press
Luis Buñuel, Modernism, Los olvidados, Las hurdes, Land without bread, Spanish cinema, Exile