Maybe Jean Cocteau was not thinking deeply in this work. Maybe he meant to make it a series of visual highlights, and that's basically what it is if nothing else. The surrealist work follows a constant stream of poetic and artistic visuals: the movie theme itself seems to be centering around art as a whole as well as containing a wonderful if unintentional commentary. Indeed, the main character it follows is an artist, a topless man encountering a series of strange occurrences, including his own hand taking on a mouth, a statue coming to life, and himself falling into a mirror. Images including a girl in bells climbing on the walls, paintings of reclining models with human arms and legs, and the face of a dead boy with blood dripping from his mouth are highlights.
The commentary appears through the second half of the film, in which two posh people, one of which is the artist from the first part, play cards at a table stationed next to the boy's corpse. To me, this seems to be commenting on how the upperclass people often ridicule and vainly ignore the poor suffering folk, indulging in their own privileged lives. The message is further emphasized by having King Louis XV and his friends watch the scene from a balcony, which definitely shows the director was playing with the idea.
Cocteau ends the film with an archival footage clip of a chimney falling over. While completely disconnected from the rest of the work, this brief finale makes a good finishing touch to the film, and was likely meant to be such - Cocteau probably wanted a memorable ending rather than having the last scene leave the viewer wondering what happened.
The film is fifty minutes long, and this is due largely in part to slow-moving action. It takes a little bit to get going and the second part is quite slow-paced in action - so needless to say, some people, including myself, might become impatient with the molasses pace at which everything occurs. Nevertheless, the unusual images and thought-provoking ideas make it a much deeper watch than "Un Chien Andalou" - its strange occurrences and visuals give the viewer something to think about, and are not there purely to shock the audience. A very thought-provoking movie and not at all to be compared to Bunuel's movie - as both are entirely different.