The End Of Hearing Impairment Series

I hope you have enjoyed reading about “What Is A Hearing Impairment? Series” and of the Famous People that have or had suffered from A Hearing Impairment. Sadly, we have come to the end of our “Hearing Impairment Series”. We now begin our “ALS Series” so please enjoy reading.

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Hearing Impairment Series-Disabled Legend Walter Geikie

Walter Geikie was born on 10 November, 1795 in Edinburgh, Scotland and died on 1 August, 1837, and was interred in the Greyfriars kirkyard in Edinburgh, Scotland.

Walter Geikie was a Scottish Painter, in his 2nd year he was attacked by a nervous fever by which he permanently lost the faculty of hearing, but through the careful attention of his father he was enabled to obtain a good education. Before he had the advantage of the instruction of a master he had attained considerable proficiency in sketching both figures and landscapes from nature, and in 1812 he was admitted into the drawing academy of the board of Scottish manufactures. Walter Geikie 1st exhibited in 1815, and was elected an associate of the Royal Scottish Academy in 1831, and a fellow in 1834.  Owing to his want of feeling for colour, Walter Geikie was not a successful painter in oils, but he sketched in India ink with great truth and humor the scenes and characters of Scottish lower-class life in his native city. A series of etchings which exhibit very high excellence were published by him in 1829-1831 and a collection of 81 of these was republished posthumously in 1841, with a biographical introduction by Sir Thomas Dick Lauder, Bart.

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Hearing Impairment Series-Disabled Legend Dr Robert Davila

Dr Robert Davila was born in southern California to Mexican parents who worked in fields and orchards. At the age of 8, he contracted spinal meningitis and became deaf. When his mother learned about a school for the deaf in northern California, she sent Roberto (his childhood name) alone on a journey to the California School for the Deaf in Berkeley (which later moved to California School for the Deaf, Fremont).

Dr Robert Davila graduated from Gallaudet University, with a Bachelor’s in Education. Dr Robert Davila then went to Hunter College with a Master’s in Special Education. To complete his education, he attended and graduated from Syracuse University with a Ph.D. in Educational Technology. Dr Robert Davila also has received honorary degrees from Gallaudet, RIT, Stonehill College, and Hunter College.

Dr Robert Davila served as Assistant Secretary for the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services of the United States from 1989 to 1993 during the administration of George H.W. Bush. Educationally, Dr Robert Davila has experience teaching high school math, being an assistant principal, serving as a K-12 superintendent. Dr Robert Davila worked as professor, a college administrator and Vice President of Gallaudet University in the 1970s and ’80s. Dr Robert Davila was headmaster of the New York School for the Deaf at White Plains 1993 to 1996 as well as CEO of the National Technical Institute for the Deaf 1996 from 2006. On 10 December, 2006 Robert Davila was named Interim President of Gallaudet, enacted at the start of 2007.

Dr Robert Davila is the 9th president of Gallaudet University, the world’s only university in which all programs and services are specifically designed to accommodate deaf and hard of hearing students. Dr Robert Davila’s appointment came after the wake of the Unity for Gallaudet Movement protests of 2006, when many students, staff, and alumni objected to the installation of president-designate Jane Fernandes. Although he is officially the university’s 9th president, the Board of Trustees has limited his term to 18-24 months.

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Hearing Impairment Series-Disabled Legend Pierre De Ronsard

Pierre de Ronsard was born on 11 September 1524 at the Manoir de la Possonnière, in the village of Couture-sur-Loir, Loir-et-Cher and died in December 1585. Pierre de Ronsard was a French poet and “prince of poets” (as his own generation in France called him).

Pierre de Ronsard’s family is said to have come from the predominantly Romanian provinces to the north of the Danube (provinces with which the Crusades had given France much intercourse) in the first half of the 16th century. Baudouin de Ronsard or Rossart was the founder of the French branch of the house, and made his mark in the early stages of the Hundred Years’ War. The poet’s father was named Louys de Ronsard, and his mother was Jeanne de Chaudrier, of a family not only noble in itself but well connected. Pierre de Ronsard was the youngest son. Loys de Ronsard was maître d’hôtel du roi to Francis I, whose captivity after Pavia had just been softened by treaty, and he had to quit his home shortly after Pierre’s birth.

The future Prince of Poets was educated at home for some years and sent to the Collège de Navarre in Paris when he was 9 years old. When Madeleine of France was married to James V of Scotland, Pierre de Ronsard was attached to the king’s service, and he spent 3 years in Britain. The latter part of this time seems to have been passed in England, though he had, strictly speaking, no business there. On returning to France in 1540, he was again taken into the service of the Duke of Orléans.

In this service he had other opportunities of travel, being sent to Flanders and again to Scotland. After a time a more important employment fell to his lot, and he was attached as secretary to the suite of Lazare de Baïf, the father of his future colleague in the Pléiade and his companion on this occasion, Antoine de Baïf, at the diet of Speyer. Afterwards he was attached in the same way to the suite of the cardinal du Bellay-Langey, and his mythical quarrel with François Rabelais dates from this period.

Pierre De Ronsard’s apparently promising diplomatic career was, however, cut short by an attack of deafness which no physician could cure, and he determined to devote himself to study. The institution which he chose for the purpose among the numerous schools and colleges of Paris was the Collège Coqueret, the principal of which was Jean Daurat — afterwards the “dark star” (as he has been called from his silence in French) of the Pléiade, and already an acquaintance of Pierre de Ronsard’s from his having held the office of tutor in the Baïf household. Antoine de Baïf, Daurat’s pupil, accompanied Pierre de Ronsard; Belleau shortly followed; Joachim du Bellay, the 2nd of the 7, joined not much later. Muretus (Marc Antoine de Muret), a great scholar and by means of his Latin plays a great influence in the creation of French tragedy, was also a student here.

Pierre de Ronsard’s period of study occupied 7 years, and the 1st manifesto of the new literary movement, which was to apply to the vernacular the principles of criticism and scholarship learnt from the classics, came not from him but from Du Bellay. The Défense et illustration de la langue française of the latter appeared in 1549, and the Pléiade (or Brigade, as it was first called) may be said to have been then launched. It consisted, as its name implies, of 7 writers whose names are sometimes differently enumerated, though the orthodox canon is beyond doubt composed of Ronsard, Du Bellay, Baïf, Remy Belleau, Pontus de Tyard (a man of rank and position who had exemplified the principles of the friends earlier), Jodelle the dramatist, and Daurat. Pierre de Ronsard’s own work came a little later, and a rather idle story is told of a trick of Du Bellay’s which at last determined him to publish. Some single and minor pieces, an epithalamium on Antoine de Bourbon and Jeanne de Navarre (1550), a “Hymne de la France” (1549), an “Ode a la Paix,” preceded the publication in 1550 of the 4 1st books (“first” is characteristic and noteworthy) of the Odes of Pierre de Ronsard.

This was followed in 1552 by the publication of his Amours de Cassandre with the fifth book of Odes, dedicated to the 15-year-old Cassandre Salviati, whom he had met at Blois and followed to her father’s Château de Talcy. These books excited a violent literary quarrel. Marot was dead, but he left numerous followers, some of whom saw in the stricter literary critique of the Pléiade, in its outspoken contempt of merely vernacular and medieval forms, in its strenuous advice to French poetry to “follow the ancients,” and so forth, an insult to the author of the Adolescence Clémentine and his school.

Pierre de Ronsard’s popularity in his own time was overwhelming and immediate, and his prosperity was unbroken. Pierre de Ronsard published his Hymns, dedicated to Margaret de Valois, in 1555; the conclusion of the Amours, addressed to another heroine, in 1556; and then a collection of Œuvres completes, said to be due to the invitation of Mary Stuart, queen of Francis II, in 1560; with Elégies, mascarades et bergeries in 1565. To this same year belongs his most important and interesting Abrégé de l’art poétique français.

The rapid change of sovereigns did Pierre de Ronsard no harm. Charles IX, King of France, who succeeded his brother after a very short time, was even better inclined to him than Henry and Francis. Pierre de Ronsard gave him rooms in the palace; he bestowed upon him divers abbacies and priories; and he called him and regarded him constantly as his master in poetry. Neither was Charles IX a bad poet. This royal patronage, however, had its disagreeable side. It excited violent dislike to Pierre de Ronsard on the part of the Huguenots, who wrote constant pasquinades against him, strove (by a ridiculous exaggeration of the Dionysiac festival at Arcueil, in which the friends had indulged to celebrate the success of the first French tragedy, Jodelle’s Cleopatre) to represent him as a libertine and an atheist, and (which seems to have annoyed him more than anything else) set up his follower Du Bartas as his rival.

According to some words of his own, which are quite credible considering the ways of the time, they were not contented with this variety of argument, but attempted to have him assassinated. During this period Pierre de Ronsard’s work was considerable but mostly occasional, and the one work of magnitude upon which Charles put him, the Franciade (1572), has never been ranked, even by his most devoted admirers, as a chief title to fame. The metre (the decasyllable) which the king chose could not but contrast unfavourably with the magnificent alexandrines which Du Bartas and Agrippa d’Aubigné were shortly to produce; the general plan is feebly classical, and the very language has little or nothing of that racy mixture of scholarliness and love of natural beauty which distinguishes the best work of the Pléiade. The poem could never have had an abiding success, but at its appearance it had the singular bad luck almost to coincide with the massacre of St Bartholomew, which had occurred about a fortnight before its publication. One party in the state were certain to look coldly on the work of a minion of the court at such a juncture, the other had something else to think of.

The death of Charles made, indeed, little difference in the court favour which Pierre de Ronsard enjoyed, but, combined with his increasing infirmities, it seems to have determined him to quit court life. During his last days he lived chiefly at a house which he possessed in Vendôme, the capital of his native province, at his abbey at Croix-Val in the same neighbourhood, or else at Paris, where he was usually the guest of Jean Galland, well known as a scholar, at the College de Boncourt. It seems also that he had a town house of his own in the Fauhourg Saint-Marcel. At any rate his preferments made him in perfectly easy circumstances, and he seems neither to have derived nor wished for any profit from his books. A half-jocular suggestion that his publishes should give him money to buy “du bois pour se chauffer” in return for his last revision of his Œuvres complètes is the only trace of any desire of the kind. On the other hand, he received not merely gifts and endowments from his own sovereign but presents from many others, including Elizabeth I of England. Mary, queen of Scots, who had known him earlier, addressed him from her prison; and Tasso consulted him on the Gerusalemme.

Pierre de Ronsard’s last years were, however, saddened not merely by the death of many of his most intimate friends, but by constant and increasing ill-health. This did not interfere with his literary work in point of quality, for he was rarely idle, and some of his latest work is among his best. But he indulged (what few poets have wisely indulged) the temptation of constantly altering his work, and many of his later alterations are by no means for the better. Towards the end of 1585 his condition of health grew worse and worse, and he seems to have moved restlessly from one of his houses to another for some months. When the end came, which, though in great pain, he met in a resolute and religious manner, he was at his priory of Saint-Cosme at Tours, and he was buried in the church of that name on Friday 27, December.

The character and fortunes of Pierre de Ronsard’s works are among the most remarkable in literary history, and supply in themselves a kind of illustration of the progress of French literature during the last 3 centuries. It was long his fortune to be almost always extravagantly admired or violently attacked. At first, as has been said, the enmity, not altogether unprovoked, of the friends and followers of Marot fell to his lot, then the still fiercer antagonism of the Huguenot faction, who, happening to possess a poet of great merit in Du Bartas, were able to attack Pierre de Ronsard in his tenderest point. But fate had by no means done its worst with him in his lifetime. After his death the classical reaction set in under the auspices of Malherbe, who seems to have been animated with a sort of personal hatred of Pierre de Ronsard, though it is not clear that they ever met. After Malherbe, the rising glory of Corneille and his contemporaries obscured the tentative and unequal work of the Pléiade, which was, moreover, directly attacked by Boileau himself, the dictator of French criticism in the last half of the 17th century.

Then Pierre de Ronsard was, except by a few men of taste, such as Jean de La Bruyère and Fénelon, forgotten when he was not sneered at. In this condition he remained during the whole 18th century and the first quarter of the 19th. The Romantic revival, seeing in him a victim of its special bête noire Boileau, and attracted by his splendid diction, rich metrical faculty, and combination of classical and medieval peculiarities, adopted his name as a kind of battle-cry, and for the moment exaggerated his merits somewhat. The critical work, however, first of Sainte-Beuve in his Tableau de la littérature francaise au 16ème siècle, and since of others, has established Pierre de Ronsard pretty securely in his right place, a place which may be defined in a few sentences.

Pierre de Ronsard was the acknowledged chief of the Pléiade and its most voluminous poet. Pierre de Ronsard was probably also its best, though a few isolated pieces of Belleau excel him in airy lightness of touch. Several sonnets of Du Bellay exhibit what may be called the intense and voluptuous melancholy of the Renaissance more perfectly than anything of his, and the finest passages of the Tragiques and the Divine Sep’maine surpass his work in command of the alexandrine and in power of turning it to the purposes of satirical invective and descriptive narration. But that work is, as has been said, very extensive (we possess at a rough guess not much short of a 100,000 lines of his), and it is extraordinarily varied in form. Pierre de Ronsard did not introduce the sonnet into France, but he practised it very soon after its introduction and with admirable skill – the famous “Quand vous serez bien vieille” being one of the acknowledged gems of French literature.

Pierre de Ronsard’s odes, which are very numerous, are also very interesting and in their best shape very perfect compositions. Pierre de Ronsard began by imitating the strophic arrangement of the ancients, but very soon had the wisdom to desert this for a kind of adjustment of the Horatian ode to rhyme, instead of exact quantitative metre. In this latter kind he devised some exquisitely melodious rhythms of which, till our own day, the secret died with the 17th century. Pierre de Ronsard’s more sustained work sometimes displays a bad selection of measure; and his occasional poetry–epistles, eclogues, elegies, etc.–is injured by its vast volume. But the preface to the Franciade is a very fine piece of verse, far superior (it is in alexandrines) to the poem itself. Generally speaking, Pierre de Ronsard is best in his amatory verse (the long series of sonnets and odes to Cassandre, Pikles, Marie, Genévre, Héléne–Héléne de Surgeres, a later and mainly “literary” love–etc.), and in his descriptions of the country (the famous “Mignonne allons voir si la rose,” the “Fontaine Bellerie,” the “Forêt de Gastine,” and so forth), which have an extraordinary grace and freshness. No one used with more art than he the graceful diminutives which his school set in fashion. Pierre de Ronsard knew well too how to manage the gorgeous adjectives (“marbrine,” “cinabrine,” “ivoirine” and the like) which were another fancy of the Pléiade, and in his hands they rarely become stiff or cumbrous. In short, Pierre de Ronsard shows eminently the 2 great attractions of French 16th-century poetry as compared with that of the 2 following ages – magnificence of language and imagery and graceful variety of metre.

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Hearing Impairment Series-Disabled Legend Phyllis Frelich

Phyllis Frelich was born on 29 February, 1944 in Devils Lake, a small town in North Dakota. Phyllis is an American actress and is one of the most noted deaf actresses in the United States working in the entertainment industry.

Phyllis was born to deaf parents and is the oldest of 9 children (all of whom are also deaf). Phyllis attended North Dakota School for the Deaf, graduating in 1962, and then went on to study at Gallaudet College (now known as Gallaudet University), a school for the deaf and hard-of-hearing.

Phyllis originated the leading female role in the Broadway production of Children of a Lesser God, for which she won the 1980 Best Actress Tony Award.

Marlee Matlin played Phyllis’s role in the film version, and won the Best Actress Academy Award.

Phyllis has been married to Robert Steinberg for many years, and they have 2 children.

Phyllis performed the ASL interpretation of Jewel’s rendition of the national anthem at Super Bowl XXXII.

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Hearing Impairment Series-Disabled Legend Marlee Matlin

Marlee Beth Matlin was born on 24 August, 1965 in Morton Grove, Illinois, USA. Marlee is an Academy Award and Golden Globe Award-winning American actress who is deaf.

Marlee was born to Libby and Donald Matlin, an automobile dealer. Marlee lost all hearing in her right ear, and 80% of hearing in her left ear at the age of 18 months. Marlee was raised in a Jewish family in Morton Grove, Illinois, USA. Marlee graduated from John Hersey High School in nearby Arlington Heights and attended Harper College.

Marlee made her stage debut at the age of 7, as Dorothy in a children’s theatre version of The Wizard of Oz, and continued to appear with the same children’s theatre group throughout her childhood.

Marlee’s film debut, 1986’s Children of a Lesser God, brought her a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in a Drama and an Academy Award for Best Actress. Marlee is one of the few actors to win an Oscar for their debut performance, and as of 2008, still holds the record for youngest winner in the Best Actress Oscar category. Marlee was nominated for a Golden Globe award for her work as the lead female role in the television series Reasonable Doubts (1991–1993) and was nominated for an Emmy Award for a guest appearance in Picket Fences. Marlee became a regular on the series during its final season.

Marlee later had recurring roles in The West Wing, and Blue’s Clues. Other television appearances include Seinfeld (“The Lip Reader”), The Outer Limits (“The Message”), ER, Desperate Housewives, CSI: NY and Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. Marlee was nominated for Primetime Emmy Awards for her guest appearances in Seinfield, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and The Practice.

In 2002, Marlee published her 1st novel, Deaf Child Crossing, which was loosely based on her own childhood.

In 2004, she starred in the movie What the Bleep Do We Know? as Amanda.

In 2006, Marlee was honored at AOL’s 2nd Annual Chief Everything Officer Awards. Marlee joined the cast of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition on Sunday, 17 September, 2006. In the episode featuring a deaf boy with a blind father, grandmother and sisters, Marlee was the guest host. Marlee wrote and published a sequel to Deaf Child Crossing, titled Nobody’s Perfect, which was produced on stage at the John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts in partnership with VSA arts in October 2007.

Also in 2006, she played a deaf parent in Desperate Housewives. Marlee also had a recurring role as Joy Turner’s (who made many jokes of Marlee’s deafness at her expense) public defender in My Name Is Earl and played the mother of one of the victims in an episode of CSI: NY. Marlee starred in the Baby Einstein videos Baby’s Favorite Places: First Words-Around Town and Baby Wordsworth: First Words Around the House, both of which were designed to introduce sign language as a form of non-verbal communication.

In 2006 Marlee was cast in season 4 of The L Word as Jodi Lerner, a gay deaf sculptor. Marlee appeared in season 4 (2007) and season 5 (2008) as the girl friend of the show’s main protagonist Bette Porter (played by Jennifer Beals). It is unclear if Marlee will continue in season 6, the show’s final season.

On 4 February, 2007, Marlee performed the Star Spangled Banner in American Sign Language at Super Bowl XLI in Miami, Florida. Marlee again starred in Baby Einstein in March 2007 with My First Signs, which introduced sign language using common words such as “mommy” and “milk.” Marlee also appeared on Hollywood Squares with Tom Bergeron as emcee. Though she could not hear and was not encouraged to use her own voice to speak, her personal interpreter Jack Jason (who also appeared with her during talk show and publicity appearances) accompanied her on the panel and she handled questions with his assistance – including offering some humorous quips (in ASL) in her own right.

In January 2008, she appeared on Nip/Tuck as a television executive.

On 18 February, 2008, it was announced that Marlee would participate as a competitor in the 6th season of ABC’s Dancing with the Stars. Marlee’s dance partner was newcomer Fabian Sanchez. Marlee and Fabian were eliminated from the competition on 22 April, 2008.

On 13 July, 2008, Marlee participated in the Taco Bell All Star Legends and Celebrity Softball game as part of All-Star Weekend activities at Yankee Stadium. Marlee scored a run and had 2 RBI for the National League team.

Marlee is actively involved with a number of charitable organisations, including the Children Affected by AIDS Foundation, Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation, VSA arts, and the Red Cross Celebrity Cabinet. Marlee was appointed by President Clinton in 1994 to the Corporation for National Service and served as chair of National Volunteer Week.

Marlee received an honorary doctorate of humane letters degree from Gallaudet University in 1987. In October 2007, she was appointed to the Gallaudet University Board of Trustees.

Marlee has been close friends with actress Jennifer Beals since they met in an airport in the 1980s.

Marlee married law enforcement officer Kevin Grandalski on 29 August, 1993 (in Henry Winkler’s back yard). They have 4 children: Sara Rose, born on 19 January, 1996; Brandon Joseph, born on 12 September 2000; Tyler Daniel, born on 18 July, 2002; and Isabelle Jane, born on 26 December, 2003. Marlee lives in Los Angeles with her family.

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Hearing Impairment Series-Disabled Legend Luis Bunuel

Luis Bunuel Portolés was born on 22 February, 1900 in Calanda, province of Teruel in the autonomous community of Aragón, Spain and died on 29 July, 1983 In Mexico City, Mexico. Luis was a Spanish-born filmmaker and naturalized Mexican who worked mainly in Mexico and France, but also in his native Spain and in the United States. Luis is considered one of Mexico’s finest directors, and one of the most important directors in the history of cinema.

Luis was born to Leonardo Buñuel and María Portolés; he had 2 brothers, Alfonso and Leonardo, and 4 sisters, Alicia, Concepción, Margarita and María. Luis had a strict Jesuit education at the Colegio del Salvador in Zaragoza from which he was expelled. Later he went to university in Madrid. While studying at the University of Madrid (current-day Universidad Complutense de Madrid) he became a very close friend of painter Salvador Dalí and poet Federico García Lorca, among other important Spanish artists living in the Residencia de Estudiantes. Luis first studied the natural sciences and agronomy, then engineering, but later switched to philosophy. In 1925, he moved to Paris where he began work as a secretary in an organisation called the International Society of Intellectual Cooperation. Luis later found work in France as a director’s assistant to Jean Epstein on Mauprat and Mario Nalpas on La Sirène des Tropiques and he co-wrote and then filmed a 16 minute short film Un chien andalou (1929) with Dalí. This film, featuring a series of startling and sometimes horrifying images of Freudian nature (such as what appears to be the slow slicing of a woman’s eyeball with a razor blade) was enthusiastically received by French surrealists of the time, and continues to be shown regularly in film societies to this day.

Luis followed this with L’Âge d’or (1930), partly based on the Marquis de Sade’s 120 Days of Sodom. The film was begun as a 2nd collaboration with Dalí but became Luis’ solo project after a falling-out they had before filming began. During this film he worked around his technical ignorance by filming mostly in sequence and using nearly every foot of film that he shot. L’Âge d’or was read to be an attack on Catholicism, and thus, precipitated an even larger scandal than Un chien andalou. The right-wing press criticized the film and the police placed a ban on it that lasted 50 years.

Following L’Âge d’or, Luis returned to Spain and directed Las Hurdes: Tierra Sin Pan (Land Without Bread, 1933), a documentary on peasant life. This was a convulse period which led, in 1936, to the Spanish Civil War. The times were changing quickly and Luis could see that someone with his political and artistic sensibilities would have no place in a fascist Spain. Luis co-wrote and produced a documentary short about the changing political climes in Spain entitled España 1936.

After the Spanish Civil War, Luis was exiled and moved to the United States. Luis moved to Hollywood to capitalise on the short-lived fad of producing completely new foreign-language versions of hit films for sales abroad. After Luis worked on a few Spanish-language remakes, the industry eventually turned instead to re-dubbing of dialogue. Luis then left Hollywood for New York, getting a job at the Museum of Modern Art (where he re-edited a shorter version of Leni Riefenstahl’s documentary on Hitler, Triumph of the Will).

In his autobiography, The Secret Life of Salvador Dalí (1942), Dalí suggested that he had split with Luis because the latter was a Communist and an atheist. Luis was fired (or resigned) from MOMA, supposedly after Cardinal Spellman of New York went to see Iris Barry, head of the film department at MOMA. Luis then went back to Hollywood where he worked in the dubbing department of Warner Brothers from 1942 to 1946. In his 1982 autobiography [My Last Breath], Luis wrote that he submitted a treatment to Warners about a disembodied hand which was later adapted into The Beast with Five Fingers (1946) with Peter Lorre. Luis also wrote that, over the years, he rejected Dalí’s attempts at reconciliation.

In 1972, Luis, along with his screenwriter Jean-Claude Carrière and producer Serge Silberman, was invited by George Cukor to his house. This gathering was particularly memorable and other invitees included Alfred Hitchcock, Rouben Mamoulian, Robert Mulligan, George Stevens, Billy Wilder, Robert Wise and William Wyler.

Luis arrived in Mexico in 1946 and got the Mexican citizenship in 1949. The first film he directed there was the Gran Casino (1946), produced by Oscar Dancigers. Luis found the plot boring and it was not hugely successful. Luis later again collaborated with Dancigers in creating El Gran Calavera (1949), a successful film starring Fernando Soler. As Luis himself has stated, he learned the techniques of directing and editing while shooting El Gran Calavera. Its success at the box office encouraged Oscar Dancigers to accept the production of a more ambitious film for which Luis, apart from writing the script, had complete freedom to direct. The result was his critically acclaimed Los Olvidados (1950), which was recently considered by UNESCO as part of the world’s cultural heritage. Los Olvidados (and its triumph at Cannes) made Luis an instant world celebrity and the most important Spanish-speaking film director in the world.

Luis spent most of his later life in Mexico, where he directed 21 films. Those films included:

Él (1953)

Ensayo de un crimen (The Criminal Life of Archibaldo de la Cruz) (1955)

Nazarín (1959) (based on a novel by Spain’s Benito Pérez Galdós, and adapted by Luis to a Mexican context)

Viridiana (1961) (coproduction Mexico-Spain and winner at Cannes)

El Ángel Exterminador (The Exterminating Angel) (1962)

Simón del desierto (Simon of the Desert) (1965).

After the golden age of the Mexican film industry ended, Luis started to work in France along with Silberman and Carrière. During this “French Period”, Luis directed some of his best-known works: Le Journal d’une femme de chambre (Diary of a Chambermaid), free adaptation of the famous Octave Mirbeau’s novel Le journal d’une femme de chambre ; Belle de Jour ; Cet obscur objet du désir (That Obscure Object of Desire) ; and Le Charme discret de la bourgeoisie (The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie) – as well as some lesser-known films such as The Phantom of Liberty and La Voie lactée (The Milky Way).

After the release of Cet obscur objet du désir (1977) he retired from film making, and wrote (with Carrière) an autobiography, Mon Dernier Soupir (My Last Sigh), published in 1982, which provides an account of Luis’s life, friends, and family as well as a representation of his eccentric personality. In it he recounts dreams, encounters with many well known writers, actors, and artists such as Pablo Picasso and Charlie Chaplin, and antics such as dressing up as a nun and walking around town. As one might deduce from these antics, Luis was famous for his atheism. In a 1960 interview with Michele Manceaux in L’Express, Luis famously declared: “I am still, thank God, an atheist.”

Luis almost seemed to repudiate this statement in a 1977 article in The New Yorker. “I’m not a Christian, but I’m not an atheist, either”, he said. “I’m weary of hearing that accidental old aphorism of mine, ‘I’m an atheist, thank God.’ It’s outworn. Dead leaves. In 1951, I made a small film called Mexican Bus Ride, about a village too poor to support a church and a priest. The place was serene, because no one suffered from guilt. It’s guilt we must escape from, not God.”

Luis married Jeanne Rucar in a town hall in Paris in 1934 and they remained married throughout his life. Luis’s sons are Rafael and Juan Luis Buñuel. Diego Buñuel, filmmaker and host of the National Geographic Channel’s Don’t Tell my Mother I am in… series, is his grandson.

Luis Buñuel’s films were famous for their surreal imagery; they include scenes in which chickens populate nightmares, women grow beards, and aspiring saints are desired by luscious women. Even in the many movies he made for hire (rather than for his own creative reasons), such as Susana, Robinson Crusoe, and The Great Madcap, he always added his trademark of disturbing and surreal images. Running through his own films is a backbone of surrealism; Luis’s world is one in which an entire dinner party suddenly finds themselves inexplicably unable to leave the room and go home, a bad dream hands a man a letter which he brings to the doctor the next day, and where the devil, if unable to tempt a saint with a pretty girl, will fly him to a disco. An example of a more Dada influence can be found in Cet obscur objet du désir, when Mathieu closes his eyes and has his valet spin him around and direct him to a map on the wall.

Luis never explained or promoted his work. On one occasion, when his son was interviewed about The Exterminating Angel, Luis instructed him to give facetious answers; for example, when asked about the presence of a bear in the socialites’ house, Luis fils claimed it was because his father liked bears. Similarly, the several repeated scenes in the film were explained as having been put there to increase the running time.

Many of his films were openly critical of middle class morals and organised religion, mocking the Roman Catholic Church for hypocrisy. Many of his most famous films demonstrate this:

Un chien andalou (An Andalusian Dog, 1929) — A man drags pianos, upon which are piled 2 dead donkeys, 2 priests, and the tablets of The Ten Commandments.

L’Âge d’or (The Golden Age, 1930) — A bishop is thrown out a window, and in the final scene one of the culprits of the 120 days of Sodom is portrayed by an actor dressed in a way that he would be recognised as Jesus.

Ensayo de un crimen (The Criminal Life of Archibald de la Cruz, 1955) — A man dreams of murdering his wife while she’s praying in bed dressed all in white.

Simón del desierto (Simon of the Desert , 1965) — The devil tempts a saint by taking the form of a bare-breasted girl singing and showing off her legs. At the end of the film, the saint abandons his ascetic life to hang out in a jazz club.

Nazarin (1959) — The pious lead character wreaks ruin through his attempts at charity.

Viridiana (1961) — A well-meaning young nun tries unsuccessfully to help the poor. Also there is is a scene in the film as The Last Supper (of Leonardo Da Vinci).

La Voie Lactée (1969) — Two men travel the ancient pilgrimage road to Santiago de Compostela and meet embodiments of various heresies along the way. One dreams of anarchists shooting the Pope.
The story of the making of Viridiana is illustrative. Luis’s earlier Spanish and French films from the 1930s were regarded as cinema landmarks — Un Chien Andalou, L’Âge d’or, and Las Hurdes (also known as Tierra sin Pan or Land Without Bread) (1933). The advent of the Spanish Civil War in 1936, however, caused the expatriation of many artists and intellectuals from the fascist dictatorship of Franco, whose military revolt and rise to power had had the strong backing of the Spanish Catholic hierarchy.

Had Luis stayed in Spain, his fate might have been the same as that of his friend, poet Federico García Lorca, who was assassinated at the outset of Franco’s military revolt. After some years of artistic silence forced by the difficult circumstances of his expatriation, Luis, then residing in Mexico, returned in full force to writing and directing with some of his best films, which once more won him international acclaim.

In 1960, for political propaganda reasons, Franco instructed his minister of culture to invite the country’s most famous filmmaker to return to Spain to direct a film of his choice. Luis accepted and proceeded to make Viridiana, promptly departing from the country after finishing the film, but leaving a few official copies. After viewing them, the copies were burned by the dictator’s authorities. The minister of culture was reprimanded for having passed the screenplay in the first place. A copy of Viridiana, however, had been smuggled to France, where it proceeded to win the Palme D’Or of the Cannes International Film Festival. The film was banned in Spain, but got international attention and praise (with some exceptions). The Vatican’s official press organ, l’Osservatore Romano, published an article calling Viridiana an insult not only to Catholicism, but to Christianity itself.

Luis’s style of directing was extremely economical. Luis shot films in a few weeks, never deviating from his script and shooting in order as much as possible to minimize editing time. Luis told actors as little as possible, and limited his directions mostly to physical movements (“move to the right”, “walk down the hall and go through that door”, etc.). Luis often refused to answer actors’ questions and was known to simply turn off his hearing aid on the set; though they found it difficult at the time, many actors who worked with him acknowledged later that his approach made for fresh and excellent performances.

Luis preferred scenes which could simply be pieced together end-to-end in the editing room, resulting in long, mobile, wide shots which followed the action of the scene. Examples are especially present in his French films. For example, at the restaurant / ski resort in Belle de jour, Séverin, Pierre, and Henri are conversing at a table. Luis cuts away from their conversation to 2 young women who walk down a few steps and proceed through the restaurant, passing behind Séverin, Pierre, and Henri, at which point the camera stops and the young women walk out of frame. Henri then comments on the women and the conversation at the table progresses from there.

Luis disliked non-diegetic music, and avoided it in his films, though traditional drums from Calanda sound in most of his films. The films of his French era were not scored and some (Belle de jour, Diary of a Chambermaid) contain absolutely no music whatsoever. Belle de Jour does, however, feature (potentially) non-diegetic sound effects, believed by some to be clues as to whether or not the current scene is a dream.

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