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Un Chien Andalou (1929) - Luis Buñuel

Related: avant-garde film - surrealist film - film - Luis Buñuel - 1929

Luis Bunuel once referred to some of those who praised Un Chien Andalou as “that crowd of imbeciles who find the film beautiful and poetic when it is fundamentally a desperate and passionate call to murder.” via Lipstick Traces (1989)

Un Chien Andalou (1929) - Luis Buñuel [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]


Un chien andalou (An Andalusian Dog in English) is a surrealist short film (16 min.) by Luis Buñuel (Writer/Director) and Salvador Dalí.

Produced in France in 1928, it is acclaimed as a surrealist masterpiece, stemming from and criticizing the French avant-garde film movement of the time. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Un_Chien_Andalou [Nov 2005]

(Luis Bunuel & Salvador Dali, France, 1929)
"This film", said Bunuel, describing what was to become the most famous avant-garde film ever made -- "draws its inspiration from poetry, freed from reason and traditional morality. It has no intention of attracting or pleasing the spectator -- indeed, on the contrary, it attacks him to a degree to which he belongs to a society with which surrealism is at war ... this film is meant to explode in the hands of its enemies." There is no "plot" -- only innuendos; no logic except that of the nightmare; no reality except the inner universe of the subconcious. The continuity, if any, arises solely in the mind of the viewer. The illogical, dream-like progression of feared or forbidden images in this intentionally shocking work has by now entered film history and has almost acquired a patina of respectability, so far has the world moved towards real and worse nightmares. Yet we remain disturbed by the close-up of live ants crawling in a wound in the palm of a hand, by the sudden, "comic" transposition of a woman's underarm hair into a man's moustache, by the couple buried to their necks in the sand. The inordinately lustful protagonist fingers the woman's breasts which are suddenly transformed into buttocks; a severed hand is poked by a stick. But if these images have to some extent become more "acceptable", one sequence has remained shockingly "liberating" as it was originally: the slitting of the woman's eyeball, on camera, deftly conducted in close-up by the young Bunuel himself. By placing this sequence at the start of his first film (and thereby his life's work as one of the cinema's most original talents), Bunuel serves warning of his intention: to change our conciousness. -- Film As a Subversive Art (1974) - Amos Vogel

Comments by Daniel Brown

The graphic termination of vision didn't end, however, solely with [Georges] Bataille. Again, in 1928, the eye would meet a gruesome fate in Un Chien Andalou, a film by Spanish artists Luis Bunuel and Salvador Dali.

Following the opening credits appear the words "Once upon a time", setting a mythic aura to what is about to commence. The first scene shows two masculine hands sharpening a razor, and when the man's face is shown (who is Bunuel) we see that a cigarette hangs from his lips. After he has tested the sharpness of the razor he steps out on to the balcony, leans on the railing, and looks up to the sky. Presumably, he is watching the moon which we notice has a very thin cloud approaching towards it. There is another shot of the man looking thoughtfully to the moon and smoking before we see the face of a young woman. One of the man's hands opens her left eye while the other holds the razor. There is another shot of the moon as the thin cloud passes through the full moon before the final shot of an extreme close-up with the razor slicing through the woman's eye as jell-like fluids come seeping out of from behind the incision. --Daniel Brown


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