Buñuel ’s Philosophical Toys
Susana Medina. Edited by Derek Ogbourne
Voice by Paul Ryan
Buñuel’s Philosophical Toys is an offspring from a larger project, Philosophical Toys, a novel in progress about our relationship to the complex world of things. Invited to do a talk on Buñuel, Susana Medina ended up putting together this short film in three days. Thus the film actually comes about by chance, the film becomes a case of what the surrealists called “objective chance”.
The film deals primarily with a recurrent motif throughout Buñuel’s oeuvre, fetishism, the sex appeal of the inorganic as it appears in some of his films. Buñuel’s recurrent representation of the fetish throughout his career constitutes in itself a discourse about the paradox of fetishism. Throughout his career, the film-maker explored various types of fetishism trying to establish connections between them. Thus, not only sexual fetishism –in particular, shoe fetishism- is explored, but also religious, childhood and commodity fetishism. Buñuel’s Philosophical Toys opens up a space that scrutinises the director’s fascination both with the other and with the abject; with collective versus private fetishism; with a vertiginous debate about “unstable objects“ that connects the fetish with absence, but with the absence of a cherished person where disavowal becomes a disavowal of the supreme loss: death, actual physical death. It also scrutinises the childhood fetish as an object invested with supernatural powers, referring to the fact that we relegate animism, amongst other realms, to childhood, representation and the private superstitious world of the individual.