Luis Buñuel was more than a Spanish filmmaking legend; the man whose work stretched from the beginning of cinema in the early twentieth century to the late 1970s was more than a revolutionary in the film history. He was more than a visionary director and an icon in the Paris art scene (much to his own chagrin). He was a surréaliste (French for surrealist)! It this well-known reality-altering way of thinking that was infused in so much of his work and his public aura. Buñuel though had a brilliant love affair that affected greatly how surrealism filtered through to his movies; this was an affair with minimalism.
Essentially that is the appeal of surrealism, that meaning is applied by audiences not planted by artists; but to do this Buñuel needed minimalism. In this brave new world of surrealism and minimalism, subtlety is King and the King is dead! (Simultaneously of course). This is an effect of minimalism. Minimalism requires subtlety as there can be nothing flashy (aesthetic or substance). This vacuum then permits the idiosyncrasies (the ones that made a Buñuel film a Buñuel film) to flower. In the absence of superfluous dialogue, or light-bathed make-up smothered actors and actresses, a calf under the dinner table has a rather jarring effect. It was minimalism that empowered Buñuel’s surrealism and it was Buñuel who fathered minimalist cinema, not just surrealist cinema.