Journal of Romance Studies

Picturing the beggars in Luis Buñuel’s Viridiana: a perverse appropriation of Leonardo da Vinci’s Last Supper

Journal of Romance Studies (2005), 5, (2), 59–73.

Abstract

This article looks at the sequence in which Enedina (Lola Gaos), one of the female beggars, pretends to photograph the other beggars at the dining table in Luis Buñuel’s 1961 film Viridiana. Detailed analysis of this kind allows us to understand to what extent Buñuel’s film aligns itself with what has been frequently identified as patriarchal Surrealist experimentation with parodic rewriting. Inversely, this analysis also allows us to ask to what extent Viridiana may be appropriated by current sexually dissident modes of rereading and rewriting cultural texts. I consider the different cinematic elements used by Buñuel to represent this parodic image and how Buñuel transforms the conventional function of objects so that they fulfil a different material and symbolic function.

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Adams, Parveen (1996) The Emptiness of the Image: Psychoanalysis and Sexual Differences (London: Routledge). The Emptiness of the Image: Psychoanalysis and Sexual Differences Google Scholar

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Fletcher, John (1989) ‘Freud and his uses: psychoanalysis and gay theory’, in Coming on Strong: Gay Politics and Culture, ed. Simon Shepherd and Mick Wallis (London: Unwin Hyman), 90–118. Freud and his uses: psychoanalysis and gay theory Coming on Strong: Gay Politics and Culture 90 118 Google Scholar

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Gallop, Jane (1988) Thinking Through the Body (New York: Columbia University Press). Thinking Through the Body Google Scholar

Garber, Marjorie (1992) Vested Interests: Cross-dressing and Cultural Anxiety (London: Routledge). Vested Interests: Cross-dressing and Cultural Anxiety Google Scholar

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Kinder, Marsha (1993) Blood Cinema: The Reconstruction of National Identity in Spain (Berkeley: University of California Press). Blood Cinema: The Reconstruction of National Identity in Spain Google Scholar

Krauss, Rosalind (1993) The Optical Unconscious (Cambridge MA: M.I.T. Press). The Optical Unconscious Google Scholar

Lacan, Jacques (1977) ‘The mirror stage as formative of the function of the I’, in Écrits: A Selection, trans. Alan Sheridan (London: Routledge), 1–7. The mirror stage as formative of the function of the I Écrits: A Selection 1 7 Google Scholar

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Riera, Emilio (1978) ‘Viridiana’, in The World of Luis Buñuel: Essays in Criticism, ed. Joan Mellen (Oxford: Oxford University Press), 218–25. Viridiana The World of Luis Buñuel: Essays in Criticism 218 25 Google Scholar

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Sandro, Paul (1987) Diversions of Pleasure: Luis Buñuel and the Crises of Desire (Columbus: Ohio State University Press). Diversions of Pleasure: Luis Buñuel and the Crises of Desire Google Scholar

Scarlett, Elizabeth (1994) Under Construction: The Body in Spanish Novels (Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia). Under Construction: The Body in Spanish Novels Google Scholar

Schwartz, Ronald (1991) The Great Spanish Films, 1950–1990 (Methchen: Scarecrow Press). The Great Spanish Films, 1950–1990 Google Scholar

Stam, Robert (1985) Reflexivity in Film and Literature: From Don Quixote to Jean-Luc Godard (Ann Arbor: UMI Research Press). Reflexivity in Film and Literature: From Don Quixote to Jean-Luc Godard Google Scholar

Stam, Robert (1991) ‘Hitchcock and Buñuel: authority, desire, and the absurd’, in Hitchcock’s Re-released Films from Rope to Vertigo, ed. Walter Raubicheck and Walter Srebnick (Detroit: Wayne State University Press), 116–46. Hitchcock and Buñuel: authority, desire, and the absurd Hitchcock’s Re-released Films from Rope to Vertigo 116 46 Google Scholar

Suleiman, Susan (1990) Subversive Intent: Gender, Politics and the Avant-garde (Cambridge MA: Harvard University Press). Subversive Intent: Gender, Politics and the Avant-garde Google Scholar

Adams, Parveen (1996) The Emptiness of the Image: Psychoanalysis and Sexual Differences (London: Routledge). The Emptiness of the Image: Psychoanalysis and Sexual Differences Google Scholar

Battersby, Christine (1996) ‘Her blood and his mirror: Mary Coleridge, Luce Irigaray, and the female self’, in Beyond Representation, ed. Richard Eldridge (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press), 249–72. Her blood and his mirror: Mary Coleridge, Luce Irigaray, and the female self Beyond Representation 249 72 Google Scholar

Bersani, Leo (1986) The Freudian Body: Psychoanalysis and Art (New York: Columbia University Press). The Freudian Body: Psychoanalysis and Art Google Scholar

Buñuel, Luis (1985) My Last Breath, trans. Abigail Israel (London: Fontana). My Last Breath Google Scholar

Chasseguet-Smirgel, Janine (1983) ‘Perversion and the universal law’, International Review of Psychoanalysis 10, 293–301. Perversion and the universal law International Review of Psychoanalysis 10 293 301 Google Scholar

Collins, Bradley (1997) Leonardo, Psychoanalysis and Art History: A Critical Study of Psychobiographical Approaches to Leonardo da Vinci (Evanston: Northwestern University Press). Leonardo, Psychoanalysis and Art History: A Critical Study of Psychobiographical Approaches to Leonardo da Vinci Google Scholar

Dollimore, Jonathan (1991) Sexual Dissidence: Augustine to Wilde, Freud to Foucault (Oxford: Clarendon Press). Sexual Dissidence: Augustine to Wilde, Freud to Foucault Google Scholar

Fletcher, John (1989) ‘Freud and his uses: psychoanalysis and gay theory’, in Coming on Strong: Gay Politics and Culture, ed. Simon Shepherd and Mick Wallis (London: Unwin Hyman), 90–118. Freud and his uses: psychoanalysis and gay theory Coming on Strong: Gay Politics and Culture 90 118 Google Scholar

Adams, Parveen (1996) The Emptiness of the Image: Psychoanalysis and Sexual Differences (London: Routledge). The Emptiness of the Image: Psychoanalysis and Sexual Differences Google Scholar

Freud, Sigmund (1963) ‘Three essays on the theory of sexuality’, in Standard Edition of Complete Psychological Works, 24 vols (London: Hogarth Press), VII, 125–245. Three essays on the theory of sexuality Standard Edition of Complete Psychological Works 125 245 Google Scholar

Battersby, Christine (1996) ‘Her blood and his mirror: Mary Coleridge, Luce Irigaray, and the female self’, in Beyond Representation, ed. Richard Eldridge (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press), 249–72. Her blood and his mirror: Mary Coleridge, Luce Irigaray, and the female self Beyond Representation 249 72 Google Scholar

Freud, Sigmund (1981) ‘Fetishism’, in On Sexuality, Pelican Freud Library, 24 vols (Harmondsworth: Penguin Books), VII, 345–58. Fetishism On Sexuality 345 58 Google Scholar

Bersani, Leo (1986) The Freudian Body: Psychoanalysis and Art (New York: Columbia University Press). The Freudian Body: Psychoanalysis and Art Google Scholar

Freud, Sigmund (1985) ‘The uncanny’, in Art and Literature, Penguin Freud Library, trans. James Strachey, 24 vols (London: Penguin), XIX, 339–76. The uncanny Art and Literature 339 76 Google Scholar

Buñuel, Luis (1985) My Last Breath, trans. Abigail Israel (London: Fontana). My Last Breath Google Scholar

Gallop, Jane (1982) The Daughter’s Seduction: Feminism and Psychoanalysis (Ithaca: Cornell University Press). The Daughter’s Seduction: Feminism and Psychoanalysis Google Scholar

Chasseguet-Smirgel, Janine (1983) ‘Perversion and the universal law’, International Review of Psychoanalysis 10, 293–301. Perversion and the universal law International Review of Psychoanalysis 10 293 301 Google Scholar

Collins, Bradley (1997) Leonardo, Psychoanalysis and Art History: A Critical Study of Psychobiographical Approaches to Leonardo da Vinci (Evanston: Northwestern University Press). Leonardo, Psychoanalysis and Art History: A Critical Study of Psychobiographical Approaches to Leonardo da Vinci Google Scholar

Gallop, Jane (1988) Thinking Through the Body (New York: Columbia University Press). Thinking Through the Body Google Scholar

Dollimore, Jonathan (1991) Sexual Dissidence: Augustine to Wilde, Freud to Foucault (Oxford: Clarendon Press). Sexual Dissidence: Augustine to Wilde, Freud to Foucault Google Scholar

Garber, Marjorie (1992) Vested Interests: Cross-dressing and Cultural Anxiety (London: Routledge). Vested Interests: Cross-dressing and Cultural Anxiety Google Scholar

Fletcher, John (1989) ‘Freud and his uses: psychoanalysis and gay theory’, in Coming on Strong: Gay Politics and Culture, ed. Simon Shepherd and Mick Wallis (London: Unwin Hyman), 90–118. Freud and his uses: psychoanalysis and gay theory Coming on Strong: Gay Politics and Culture 90 118 Google Scholar

Guattari, Félix (1979) ‘A liberation of desire,’ in Homosexualities and French Literature: Cultural Contexts/Critical Texts, ed. George Stambolian and Elaine Marks (Ithaca: Cornell University Press), 56–69. A liberation of desire, Homosexualities and French Literature: Cultural Contexts/Critical Texts 56 69 Google Scholar

Freud, Sigmund (1963) ‘Three essays on the theory of sexuality’, in Standard Edition of Complete Psychological Works, 24 vols (London: Hogarth Press), VII, 125–245. Three essays on the theory of sexuality Standard Edition of Complete Psychological Works 125 245 Google Scholar

Jones, Amelia (1994) Postmodernism and the En-gendering of Marcel Duchamp (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press). Postmodernism and the En-gendering of Marcel Duchamp Google Scholar

Lillo, Gastón and Alejandro Yarza (2003) ‘El demonio, el mundo y la carne: la construcción del sujeto en Viridiana’, in Buñuel: The Transcultural Imaginary, ed. Gastón Lillo (Ottawa: University of Ottawa), 145–61. El demonio, el mundo y la carne: la construcción del sujeto en Viridiana Viridiana 145 61 Google Scholar

Freud, Sigmund (1981) ‘Fetishism’, in On Sexuality, Pelican Freud Library, 24 vols (Harmondsworth: Penguin Books), VII, 345–58. Fetishism On Sexuality 345 58 Google Scholar

Kinder, Marsha (1993) Blood Cinema: The Reconstruction of National Identity in Spain (Berkeley: University of California Press). Blood Cinema: The Reconstruction of National Identity in Spain Google Scholar

Freud, Sigmund (1985) ‘The uncanny’, in Art and Literature, Penguin Freud Library, trans. James Strachey, 24 vols (London: Penguin), XIX, 339–76. The uncanny Art and Literature 339 76 Google Scholar

Krauss, Rosalind (1993) The Optical Unconscious (Cambridge MA: M.I.T. Press). The Optical Unconscious Google Scholar

Gallop, Jane (1982) The Daughter’s Seduction: Feminism and Psychoanalysis (Ithaca: Cornell University Press). The Daughter’s Seduction: Feminism and Psychoanalysis Google Scholar

Lacan, Jacques (1977) ‘The mirror stage as formative of the function of the I’, in Écrits: A Selection, trans. Alan Sheridan (London: Routledge), 1–7. The mirror stage as formative of the function of the I Écrits: A Selection 1 7 Google Scholar

Gallop, Jane (1988) Thinking Through the Body (New York: Columbia University Press). Thinking Through the Body Google Scholar

Garber, Marjorie (1992) Vested Interests: Cross-dressing and Cultural Anxiety (London: Routledge). Vested Interests: Cross-dressing and Cultural Anxiety Google Scholar

Metz, Christian (1985) ‘Photography and fetish’, October 34, 81–90. Photography and fetish October 34 81 90 Google Scholar

Guattari, Félix (1979) ‘A liberation of desire,’ in Homosexualities and French Literature: Cultural Contexts/Critical Texts, ed. George Stambolian and Elaine Marks (Ithaca: Cornell University Press), 56–69. A liberation of desire, Homosexualities and French Literature: Cultural Contexts/Critical Texts 56 69 Google Scholar

Riera, Emilio (1978) ‘Viridiana’, in The World of Luis Buñuel: Essays in Criticism, ed. Joan Mellen (Oxford: Oxford University Press), 218–25. Viridiana The World of Luis Buñuel: Essays in Criticism 218 25 Google Scholar

Jones, Amelia (1994) Postmodernism and the En-gendering of Marcel Duchamp (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press). Postmodernism and the En-gendering of Marcel Duchamp Google Scholar

Roudinesco, Élisabeth (1990) Jacques Lacan & Co: A History of Psychoanalysis in France, 1925–1985, trans. Jeffrey Mehlman (London: Free Association). Jacques Lacan & Co: A History of Psychoanalysis in France, 1925–1985 Google Scholar

Sánchez-Biosca, Vicente (1999) Viridiana, estudio crítico (Barcelona: Ediciones Paidós). Viridiana, estudio crítico Google Scholar

Lillo, Gastón and Alejandro Yarza (2003) ‘El demonio, el mundo y la carne: la construcción del sujeto en Viridiana’, in Buñuel: The Transcultural Imaginary, ed. Gastón Lillo (Ottawa: University of Ottawa), 145–61. El demonio, el mundo y la carne: la construcción del sujeto en Viridiana Viridiana 145 61 Google Scholar

Sandro, Paul (1987) Diversions of Pleasure: Luis Buñuel and the Crises of Desire (Columbus: Ohio State University Press). Diversions of Pleasure: Luis Buñuel and the Crises of Desire Google Scholar

Kinder, Marsha (1993) Blood Cinema: The Reconstruction of National Identity in Spain (Berkeley: University of California Press). Blood Cinema: The Reconstruction of National Identity in Spain Google Scholar

Scarlett, Elizabeth (1994) Under Construction: The Body in Spanish Novels (Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia). Under Construction: The Body in Spanish Novels Google Scholar

Krauss, Rosalind (1993) The Optical Unconscious (Cambridge MA: M.I.T. Press). The Optical Unconscious Google Scholar

Schwartz, Ronald (1991) The Great Spanish Films, 1950–1990 (Methchen: Scarecrow Press). The Great Spanish Films, 1950–1990 Google Scholar

Lacan, Jacques (1977) ‘The mirror stage as formative of the function of the I’, in Écrits: A Selection, trans. Alan Sheridan (London: Routledge), 1–7. The mirror stage as formative of the function of the I Écrits: A Selection 1 7 Google Scholar

Stam, Robert (1985) Reflexivity in Film and Literature: From Don Quixote to Jean-Luc Godard (Ann Arbor: UMI Research Press). Reflexivity in Film and Literature: From Don Quixote to Jean-Luc Godard Google Scholar

Metz, Christian (1985) ‘Photography and fetish’, October 34, 81–90. Photography and fetish October 34 81 90 Google Scholar

Stam, Robert (1991) ‘Hitchcock and Buñuel: authority, desire, and the absurd’, in Hitchcock’s Re-released Films from Rope to Vertigo, ed. Walter Raubicheck and Walter Srebnick (Detroit: Wayne State University Press), 116–46. Hitchcock and Buñuel: authority, desire, and the absurd Hitchcock’s Re-released Films from Rope to Vertigo 116 46 Google Scholar

Riera, Emilio (1978) ‘Viridiana’, in The World of Luis Buñuel: Essays in Criticism, ed. Joan Mellen (Oxford: Oxford University Press), 218–25. Viridiana The World of Luis Buñuel: Essays in Criticism 218 25 Google Scholar

Suleiman, Susan (1990) Subversive Intent: Gender, Politics and the Avant-garde (Cambridge MA: Harvard University Press). Subversive Intent: Gender, Politics and the Avant-garde Google Scholar

Roudinesco, Élisabeth (1990) Jacques Lacan & Co: A History of Psychoanalysis in France, 1925–1985, trans. Jeffrey Mehlman (London: Free Association). Jacques Lacan & Co: A History of Psychoanalysis in France, 1925–1985 Google Scholar

Sánchez-Biosca, Vicente (1999) Viridiana, estudio crítico (Barcelona: Ediciones Paidós). Viridiana, estudio crítico Google Scholar

Sandro, Paul (1987) Diversions of Pleasure: Luis Buñuel and the Crises of Desire (Columbus: Ohio State University Press). Diversions of Pleasure: Luis Buñuel and the Crises of Desire Google Scholar

Scarlett, Elizabeth (1994) Under Construction: The Body in Spanish Novels (Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia). Under Construction: The Body in Spanish Novels Google Scholar

Schwartz, Ronald (1991) The Great Spanish Films, 1950–1990 (Methchen: Scarecrow Press). The Great Spanish Films, 1950–1990 Google Scholar

Stam, Robert (1985) Reflexivity in Film and Literature: From Don Quixote to Jean-Luc Godard (Ann Arbor: UMI Research Press). Reflexivity in Film and Literature: From Don Quixote to Jean-Luc Godard Google Scholar

Stam, Robert (1991) ‘Hitchcock and Buñuel: authority, desire, and the absurd’, in Hitchcock’s Re-released Films from Rope to Vertigo, ed. Walter Raubicheck and Walter Srebnick (Detroit: Wayne State University Press), 116–46. Hitchcock and Buñuel: authority, desire, and the absurd Hitchcock’s Re-released Films from Rope to Vertigo 116 46 Google Scholar

Suleiman, Susan (1990) Subversive Intent: Gender, Politics and the Avant-garde (Cambridge MA: Harvard University Press). Subversive Intent: Gender, Politics and the Avant-garde Google Scholar

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Gutiérrez-Albilla, Julián Daniel