Un Chien Andalou (an Andalusian Dog)
Directed by Luis Buñuel
Written by Luis Buñuel and Salvador Dali
A surrealist short film (around 20 minutes) with Dali as one of the writers… well, this was always going to be strange. I have to say the initial images of eye violence immediately put me off, but there was some interesting stuff later on.
The movie skips around in time, seemingly at random and without any internal consistency, which I’m sure is a deliberate choice to say something about how time is a flat circle or something. The film is a Freudian free association story, much like that of a dream where things just seem to happen and aren’t questioned. Watching it I am compelled to find meaning in it though, which I’m sure means I’m watching it wrong. If the movie isn’t supposed to have meaning and I look for meaning am I interpreting images that are supposed to have weight or just imposing my own narrative instead. I feel my art history skills trying to rear up as I watch it.
The bit which was most compelling/confusing was probably the man pulling pianos with dead donkeys on top, and then it’s revealed that also on the ropes attached to the pianos are priests, looking confused (one of which was Dali, I think.) I mean. How do you get more surreal?
It’s made very beautifully with different filters, pretty use of images fading together and various different settings. There’s lots of references to classic art – people reading books with familiar classic paintings shown, recreations of paintings as well. The final images really reminded me of one of my favourite surrealist paintings The Uncertainty of the Poet, which was painted 16 years earlier. It could have been a reference, or it might not have, who knows?
Does it make me love the people? I… I guess I really liked the androgynous woman who is poking the severed hand in the street. I dunno. No, I’d say this isn’t about human condition in the way I mean when I ask this question in relation to films.
Bechdel test: No, there’s no audible dialogue in this film and no characters are named.
Best line: No lines in the film. Best moment? Uhm. When the woman leaves the apartment and outside the door is a beach.
State of Mind: Well.. I’m very glad it was so short. I suspect some of those images will stick with me, but I can’t say I particularly enjoyed the film
It looks like you can watch it yourself here: