Sunday, November 6, 2011

Un Chien Andalou (1929)

Young film director Luis Bunuel and artist Salvador Dali collaborated to make a film guaranteed to provoke. Supposedly artist and director carried rocks in their pockets at the premier to defend themselves if the audience hated the movie. To their disappointment, they liked it.

The movie was inspired by two images: Brunel's dream of clouds slicing the image of the moon like a razor slicing an eye, and Dali's dream of ants crawling on a hand. Yummy. The razor-eye scene is over in the first two minutes and only confusing images remain for the balance of the film.

There is no narrative. Just jarring, dreamlike images that bare little context. I won't attempt to describe them. At 16 minutes and available on netflix and here, you can watch it yourself. You can't understand it unless you see it. And, in many cases, if you do see it.

In fact, that was part of the point. According to the director, the intent was to include "no idea or image that might lend itself to a rational explanation". On that mark, I believe they succeeded. An interesting side note: the two actors, Simone Mareuil and Pierre Batcheff both ended their own lives. I'm sure the film does not bear the blame.

So, what to rate it? Can I say that the movie enriched my life or furthered my film education? Nope. But it's nice and short and a quick way to knock off a fairly influential movie. I'll give it a luke warm 3.0 and let you decide for yourself.

By the way, the title translates to "An Andalusian Dog" so, take that for what it's worth. Also, the eye being cut with a razor is that of a dead calf's.

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