As one of the foremost Spanish directors of all time, Luis Buñuel's filmography has been the subject of innumerable studies. Despite the fact that the twenty films he made in Mexico between 1946 and 1965 represent the most prolific stage of his career as a filmmaker, these have remained relatively neglected in writing on Buñuel and his work. This book focuses on nine of the director's films made in Mexico in order to show that a concerted focus on space, an important aspect of the films' narratives that is often intimated by scholars, yet rarely developed, can unlock new philosophical meaning in this rich body of work.
Although in recent years Buñuel's Mexican films have begun to enjoy a greater presence in criticism on the director, they are often segregated according to their perceived critical value, effectively creating two substrands of work: the independent and the studio potboiler. The interdisciplinary approach of this book unites the two, focusing on films such as Los olvidados, Nazarín, and El ángel exterminador alongside La mort en ce jardin, The Young One, and Simón del desierto, among others. In doing so, it avoids the tropes most often associated with Buñuel's cinema—surrealism, Catholicism, the derision of the bourgeoisie—and the approach most often invoked in analysis of these themes: psychoanalysis. Instead, this book takes inspiration from the fields of human geography, anthropology, and philosophy, applying these to film-focused readings of Buñuel's Mexican cinema to argue that, ultimately, these films depict an overriding sense of placelessness, overtly or subliminally enacting a search for belonging that forces the viewer to question what it means to be in place.