Keeping Apuleius In The Picture. A dialogue between Buñuel's Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie and The Metamorphoses of Apuleius


  • Paula James


This article explores common motifs and narrative strategies which appear in the work of the second century CE Latin author, Apuleius, and the twentieth century Spanish film director Luis Buñuel. The use of narration to delay nutrition is a vital starting point for the comparative analysis. The focus of both these ‘texts’ makes them appropriate (though in some senses arbitrary) anchors in what could eventually and fruitfully develop into a wide-ranging discussion: i.e. the extent and significance of culinary metaphors in literary and cinematic narratives within a broad cultural spectrum. Uses and abuses of food and food consumption in both Apuleius and Buñuel intensify the bizarre atmospheres of the stories. By means of diversionary and supernatural tales my chosen storytellers encourage their audiences to embrace credulity and to question the reality of appearances and consequently they subvert faith in the real world. In their hands magic and the surreal is an experimental strategy for producing a deeper insight into custom and society, not so much a message as an experience for the reader and the viewer, and one which shakes complacency about the solidity of social structures and physical forms.