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Very seldom do we see a film so old, but so fresh & provoking. This is
the film , even though you probably know it!!***** with the infamous
eye-cutting scene ***end of SPOILERS*** and boy, it is the real thing.
Many striking images come in mind, most of all, I am glad that most
people here do not try to or explain as this would be useless. For what
it is worth, this started Bunuel's thing, I have yet MANY of him to
see. Sit back and enjoy!
I think it was Thomas De Quincey who said that if a farmer took opium
he would dream of cabbages and cows. To dream splendidly you need a
splendid imagination. Fortunately Bunuel had that in spades and in Un
Chien Andalou the master invites us into his dreams and it is an
experience one never forgets.
Probably the greatest director of all Bunuel starts his cinema career in the fashion he intends to follow for the rest of his life. This film contains within it the seeds of all his masterpieces to come: Los Olvidados, Nazarin, Viridiana, The Exterminating Angel, Diary of a Chambermaid, Simon of the Desert, Belle de Jour, The Milky Way, Tristana, The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie, The Phantom of Liberty, That Obscure Object of Desire, all have their roots in this 20-minute film. Bunuel is announcing to the world the birth of a cinematic god. Forget Dali's contribution, it was insignificant, this is pure Bunuel.
If you have any pretensions at all to being a connoisseur of the cinema you must see this film. Nobody can claim to know the movies unless they have seen this. It is quite simply the greatest short film ever made.
Oh yes, the plot. The plot is human life itself. 10/10 although once again the IMDb rating system comes up short. The Godfather may be a 10, Goodfellas a 10, The Shawshank Redemption a 10, Pulp Fiction a 10, but the gap between those movies and An Andalusian Dog is the width of the universe itself. See it or your life will have been wasted.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
"Un chien andalou" is one of the early movies, that is hard to grasp
since it serves more as an expression of art than it really tells an
organized story. Some of the reviewers here praise it especially for
breaking social boundaries and taboos and indeed I guess that a lot of
its value, apart from the prominent producers, originates from this
In a time when social boundaries were still a lot tighter than they are today it takes some bravery to release a movie like this one. Unfortunately, going beyond taboos doesn't guarantee an excellent movie though. I guess like with most art, the reception of this movie, apart from its historical value, is highly personal and depends largely on your taste. Personally, I liked some of the elements and depictions, but I find it rather difficult when a film provides so little structured plot.
All in all you have to give the producers some credit for fighting for a more liberal art that isn't bound by social pressure. But that doesn't mean you have to blindly celebrate this movie. Not everyone that doesn't break out into celebration after watching it wants to be hip, some just simply didn't like it that much. That's art.
Un Chien Andalou is 16 minutes of surreal silent film that makes less
sense than painting my knackers green and setting them on fire while
singing the national anthem. Director Louis Buñuel, collaborating with
artist Salvador Dalí, delivers a series of perplexing images, some of
which are extremely disturbing (the slicing of a woman's eye with a
straight razor), some of which are daring (the fondling of a naked pair
of breasts and a bare ass), and many of which are downright bizarre (a
man pulling two pianos weighed down by dead donkeys and a pair of
Other memorable imagery includes ants crawling out of a hole in the palm of a man's hand, an androgynous woman poking a severed hand with a stick, and a guy losing his mouth only to have it replaced by the pubic hair from a lady's armpit. Almost impossible to rate since I had no idea what any of it meant, hence my non-committal score of 5/10.
Some believe that horror lies in the unknown: the monsters, ghosts,
werewolves, aliens and psychopaths of our imaginations, but others
realise that true horror lies in what we do know, what we're forced to
know: the everyday repressive and oppressive sexual and social
atmosphere of normal daily life; the smothering banality of a
Luis Buñuel and Salvador Dalí were anything but banal. Their masterpiece of Freudian surrealism, 'Un Chien Andalou' presents for your enjoyment the bizarre world of 'sex' -- lust versus fear; boredom versus insanity; guilt versus freedom; the male versus the female. Being a sexual male is a terrifying, oppressive, confusing and painful experience; being a sexual woman is even more so. 'Un Chien Andalou' successfully painted this age-old picture in a daring new language.
Whether a grinning male watches from his window as an androgynous woman with a severed hand in a box is mowed down by a car, or a woman shuts her aggressively advancing partner's hand in the door to trap him (a hand which is bleeding ants, stigmata-style), or a man is chastised for his lust by a father-figure (who is revealed as the woman's new lover and is shot to death by the original) -- or whether, infamously and iconically, a hand (Buñuel's, in a brief cameo) slashes a woman's eyeball from its socket (is the razor the penis and the eyeball the hymen?), this film's tone is one of extreme sexual anxiety. It's the same unbearable universe of queasy, uncomfortable dream logic angst that David Lynch borrowed from Buñuel and turned up to ten for his horrifying and often misunderstood 'Eraserhead', almost half a century later. But it's no more weird, really, than a cloud passing by the moon. But it's as violent as a razorblade to the eye.
Luis Buñuel once said, "If someone were to tell me I had twenty years left and ask me how I'd like to spend them, I'd reply, 'Give me two hours a day of activity, and I'll take the other twenty-two in dreams'." It's a shame that this unforgettable dream of his lasts for only seventeen minutes.
Although it's best known for the infamous eye-slicing scene, Bunuel and Dali's film is really more of a series of visual rhymes tied together with dream logic where space and time are irrelevant. For example, at one point a scene stops for a second to show a title card reading "sixteen years earlier" and then continues with the action as if nothing happened. What we're left with are images. Some disturbing (a group of people gathered around a severed hand lying in the street), others comical (a man rushes forward only to find he is suddenly dragging two pianos). What is it mean? Nothing, but that's basically the point. Bunuel cuts from one strange joke to the next in a way that almost makes sense if, and only if, we accept the logic of the film. It's a must watch for fans of surrealism, anyone interested in learning about film, or anyone who enjoys absurdist humor. For some, this could be a horror movie. If you're a fan of some of the weirder Monty Python buts, for example, this can rank among Chaplin and Keaton as one of the best silent comedies.
I'm not going to rate this film because all I can say is "What the
heck?" - That's the G rated version of what I said. This very late
silent is on the list of films people must see before they die? And the
late Roger Ebert agreed??? It reminded me of a time in the late 80s
when I was sitting on a bench at the Dallas Museum of Art waiting for
my companion to return from the restroom and noticed that among the
masterpieces there was hung a canvas with four squares of different
colors painted on it. That's it. Nothing interesting done with
perspective or lighting. A five year old could have done it if they
could have managed to paint within the lines. How did it get here? Was
it WHO painted it that made it view worthy? I didn't bother to go over
and find out, so I can't tell you. I'd just say that this film reminds
me of that. So some ants crawl around on someone's hand and somebody
slits an eyeball. How does any of this relate to the human experience?
I can't remember the last time I was so disappointed in a film I was
expecting to like or at least be challenged by.
I get that it's not really trying to make a point. Surrealism as Dali and Bunuel were interested in it at that point wasn't about anything, wasn't making a statement, it's just a stream of (dream) consciousness/series of images intended, if anything, to baffle and/or upset the bourgeoisie. They succeeded. I'm pretty much bourgeoisie and I was baffled.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Un Chien Andalou is a French silent film created on June 6th 1929, It is directed and produced by Luis Buñuel and is written by Salvador Dali. The cast consisted of Simore Marevil and Pierre Batchef., acting as themselves in the movie. The films outstanding cinematography is filmed by Albert Duverger and Jimmy Berliet. Music was later added too the silent also composed by Richard Wagner then selected by director Luis Buñuel in 1960. This film is known an "surealist film" although not a horror film, this short film is most certainly a huge influence on many horror classics with its nightmarish imagery., For instance the infamous razor-eye moment that is very surreal for its time in movie cinema in the late 1920's. Or the scene that includes the hand having flies coming out of it, which is a very broad and strange moment in this short film. Un Chien Andalou is known in time too give a person a sense of uncertainty and unanticipated feel through out the films entirety. The camera work and shots still hold up beautifully by Mr. DuVerger and Berliet, many iconic shots in this movie. But most importantly it proves how creativity,uniqueness and a sense of vision can have a greater impact on a film than any amount of money or following popular trends could ever achieve because Un chien Andalou is still considered a silent film marvel and remains a classic in time.-
In the late 1920's, surrealists Salvador Dali and Luis Bunuel
collaborated on this fabulously bizarre short film.
Following what barely represents a narrative, "Un chien anadolou" feels like a dream or, rather, a nightmare, for it manages to be quite terrifying in places. It's definitely daring for its day , featuring memorably horrifying images such as ants crawling from a man's hand, two dead donkeys lying on two moving pianos, and, what is perhaps the most well known of all, the infamous eye splitting sequence. This was certainly some pretty racy stuff back in its day, and today that eyeball splitting still manages to disturb and make most people cringe and wonder how they managed to get that shot.
The editing is very well done, and the whole film manages to be very artistic. As I said, it is like some sort of filmed nightmare, comparable to "Eraserhead", in which nothing really makes sense most of the time and each shot gets more and more strange and unsettling. There's also a lot of really interesting special effects and camera tricks used throughout the film, making it a visual masterpiece for the time.
I, personally, am not really pretentious and into all sorts of modern art that is really just dumb but tries to come across as genius because reason. Trust me, I'm not the type of guy that stares at a painting that's just a single color yellow and tries to interpret the meaning because it's "really deep and against the system, man!", but surrealism is a form of art that I can really get into. A lot of the time, surrealism doesn't need to make sense, it just is, and that's the beauty of it. It's all really weird and out there, just like this film.
"Un chien andalou" isn't logical or jam packed with meaning, it just simply is, and what it is is great.
Someone complained to me that she had a "misfortune of watching this
film today". She felt disgusted, bored and disturbed. I explained
surrealism and post world war 1 Europe to her and she finally raised
her IMDb score of this film six points to 7. I don't know about others
but I'll mention some things that explain it well and try to make sense
of this "nonsensical" film.
It was 1928, lost generation maturated. The lives were dull; You can imagine their situation by eliminating literally everything that you make use of for living or for fun be it Rubik's Cube, French Fries, casual sex or Martin Scorsese. The young people were "lost" (or directionless, because their teenage was spent in destructed Europe) and society was not modern. People who went to cinema were old and habitual of this fortnightly entertainment. Bunuel and Dali were two young flagrant guys who hated much of the society and wanted to bring a change in norms. So, this movie was conceptualized in the hope of administering a revolutionary shock to society. The sole purpose was to astonish and disgust most of the viewers. Bunuel wrote: "Although the surrealists didn't consider themselves terrorists, they were constantly fighting a society they despised. Their principal weapon wasn't guns, of course; it was scandal." And how did they decide what to include and what not to? Well, they opened all doors to irrationality and their dreams took care of that. Bunuel has claimed that he stood behind the screens to throw stones at the viewers, in case they wanted to leave in the middle of it. Why would they leave the theater? Because Un Chien Andalou is an independent film (only studios financed films in those days), has no plot and is full of absurdity and gore (of course they didn't know about Cronenberg and David Lynch). The only value that it was made to dissipate, and that it did successfully, was 'shock' and you don't get shocked when you see normal things.
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