25 Luis Buñuel Quotes on Art, Filmmaking, and Dreams

An artist whose work melded poetry, cinema, and dreams, Luis Buñuel would have been 115 years old this weekend. During the premiere of Un chien andalou, his 1929 silent surrealist short film written with Salvador Dalí, Buñuel filled his pockets with rocks to defend himself in case a fight broke out during the screening. He expected audiences to react negatively to his stark images of a woman’s eye being slit open (actually that of a dead calf). In a 1967 interview, Buñuel was asked if he still shows up to his screenings at the ready, pockets filled with rocks. “At that time, I carried the rocks not to defend my film but to defend our ideas, the group’s ideas,” he responded. In celebration of Buñuel’s intuitive ideas, here are 25 quotes from the filmmaker about life, art, cinema, and dreams.

Luis Buñuel

“I have a soft spot for secret passageways, bookshelves that open into silence, staircases that go down into a void, and hidden safes.”

“Give me two hours a day of activity, and I’ll take the other 22 in dreams — provided I can remember them.” —when asked how he would spend time if he were told that he had 20 years to live

“I love dreams, even when they’re nightmares, which is usually the case. My dreams are full of the same obstacles, but it doesn’t matter. My amour fou for the dreams themselves as I shared with the surrealists. Un chien andalou was born of the encounter between my dreams and [Salvador Dalí]’s. Later, I brought the dreams directly into my films, trying as hard as I could to avoid any analysis. ‘Don’t worry if the movie’s too short,’ I once told a Mexican producer. ‘I’ll just put in a dream.’ He was not impressed.”

“I have a list of about fifteen recurring dreams that have pursued me all my life like faithful traveling companions.”

“Waking dreams are as important, as unpredictable, and as powerful as those we have when we’re asleep.”