Who Is Buñuel's Successor?
Michel Gondry

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Hey, I was thinkin’ a little while ago: Is there anyone who anyone thinks is a potential successor to Buñuel

My vote: Michel Gondry. Partly because I figure the next generation of surrealist filmmakers is going to come from the world of (good) music video[1], and also because Gondry’s got a definate surrealistic style, including the love and reliance on dreams for imagery, and strong themes that pop up through his work. And, most importantly, his sense of humor — he tends to prefer doing Funny Surreal, rather than Creepy Surreal[2], which is closer to Buñuel[3]. 

Gondry does seem to use about equal parts of the Over The Top Surrealism and the Subdued Surrealism, like Buñuel did (although you’d probably want to compare stages of his career for that, where Gondry tends to mix it all up. Although Buñuel did that too, to an extent). Other similarities include the use of dreams in both Gondry’s and Buñuel work, music and hands, (like in Gondry’s The Science of Sleep and the “Everlong” video[4]), and both are fine with doing toilet humor once in a while[5]. 

Anyway, though, for hopefully at least semi-clear reasons, I’m thinking Gondry’s the Next Buñuel (if there is such a thing). Any other nominees? 

[1] I don’t really expect much to come from the “Hey, here’s some hot chicks rockin’ out while the band is playing!” school of Rock Video

[2] “Funny Surreal” and “Creepy Surreal” are my two, utterly-stripped-down-ad-absurdum, sorta-point-missing types of surrealist work. Yeah, I know that it’s totally without nuance, it’s just an easy shorthand, y’know? Do not use these terms in a serious paper about surrealism. These are not real terms. Your professor will laugh at you and then probably fail you. If you use these terms, your life will be ruined. I assume no responsibility if you are dumb enough to use the terms “Funny Surreal” and “Creepy Surreal”. If you were to use the terms “Funny Surreal” and “Creepy Surreal”, you are doomed to failure, but it might go a little like “Buñuel work typically is Funny Surreal, while David Lynch‘s non-‘On The Air’ work is Creepy Surreal for the most part.” But people would laugh at you if you actually said this, and they would be right to. 

[3] As I mentioned above, despite what you’d expect from reading about it, Un Chien Andalou is squarely Funny Surreal. 

[4] According to Dave Grohl on the Michel Gondry Video Comp put out by the Director’s Label, when he was small, he used to have nightmares about his hands growing giant, and would wake up screaming and his mother would have to come in and rub his hands so he would know that everything was as it should be hand-size-wise. 

[5] The scene in Phantom of Liberty where the professor is talking about social mores and uses the example of a society where people use the toilet in public but eating is a private act, and Gondry’s short “One Day…” in which David Cross plays a giant turd as created by Gondry (playing himself), who follows him around saying all sorts of horrible things.

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