Two people stand on a road, out of focus. Seen distorted through a glass, they retire upstairs to a bedroom where she undresses. He says, "Adieu." Images: the beautiful girl, a starfish in ... See full summary »
A solitary flower on a long driveway, a key falling, a door unlocked, a knife in a loaf of bread, a phone off the hook: discordant images a woman sees as she comes home. She naps and, ... See full summary »
This short experimental film tells the story of a man who comes to Hollywood to become a star, only to fail and be dehumanized (he is identified by the number 9314 written on his forehead),... See full summary »
A couple is brutally murdered in the working-class district of Paris. Later on, the narrative follows the lives of their two daughters, both in love with a Parisian thug and leading them to separate ways.
A long series of unrelated images, revolving, often distorted: lights, flowers, nails. A lightboard appears from time to time carrying the news of the day. Then, an eye. A woman in a car ... See full summary »
Black and white rectangular images fade in and out of the screen. Their movement make them sometimes look like they're panning from side to side. Their movement also make the black and ... See full summary »
A traveller arrives at the Usher mansion to find that the sibling inhabitants, Roderick and Madeline Usher, are living under a mysterious family curse: Roderick's senses have become ... See full summary »
James Sibley Watson,
Two people stand on a road, out of focus. Seen distorted through a glass, they retire upstairs to a bedroom where she undresses. He says, "Adieu." Images: the beautiful girl, a starfish in a jar, city scenes, newspapers, tugboats. More images: starfish, the girl. "How beautiful she is." Repeatedly. He advances up the stair, knife in hand, starfish on the step. Three people stand on a road, out of focus. "How beautiful she was." "How beautiful she is." "Beautiful." Written by
A Surrealist coup of untold unspeakable unearthly allure.
"L'Étoile de mer" is a classic piece of Surrealist cinema from the 1920's starring the adorable and timeless Kiki of Montparnasse, and also featuring the divine Robert Desnos. A lovely Surrealist poem written by Desnos accompanies the film, eloquently juxtaposing the images.
A great deal of the sequences are shot through a pane of glass, giving the film a diffuse, dreamy quality, although there are also many stunning shots in sharp focus. The uncanny motif of the starfish is the primary piece of Surrealist iconography, which reoccurs at several junctures, including a beautiful close-up that captures the sea creature's graceful delicacy in locomotion and its multitude of tiny pedicellariae.
Unlike the more striking and barbaric imagery of "Un Chien Andalou", another famous Surrealist short film produced in the same year by Salvador Dali and Luis Buñuel, this film is more lyrical and sensuous, evoking with a sense of innate desire and mystery, the concept of the marvelous outlined by André Breton in the Surrealist Manifesto of 1924.
Kiki of Montparnasse superbly portrays the primeval Surrealist muse and heroine, unashamedly stripping off her clothes in one scene, peering nefariously over the edge of a newspaper in another, and slowly climbing a staircase brandishing a long shimmering dagger in one of the penultimate scenes.
This film was way ahead of its time, anticipating stylistic and thematic currents that weren't fully developed until the latter half of the 20th century such as narrative discontinuity, jump cuts, the femme fatale and the dream sequence. A must see for all cinéastes and lovers of the Surreal.
11 of 12 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?