Luis Buñuel died in 1983, the same age as the century, soon after relating this engrossing autobiography.[1] At the age of twelve, in 1912, growing up in the “medieval” atmosphere of Calanda, in southern Aragon, he still believed that the Virgin of Pilar was superior to the Virgin of Guadalupe—and that babies came from Paris.

Calanda, where “the Middle Ages lasted until World War I,” was then a village of fewer than five thousand inhabitants, subsisting on the sale of olive oil, rooted in tradition, in rigorous class distinctions, and, for those who were educated, in the prohibitive disciplines of the Jesuit order. Buñuel spent seven years as a day student at the Colegio del Salvador in Saragossa, where every day began with 7:30 Mass and ended with evening prayers. Privacy and fraternization alike were frowned upon: when a...

 
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