Tuesday 1 January 2013

Un Chien Andalou [1929]

Luis Bunuel and Salvador Dali, two young blokes who would both go on to achieve stratospheric heights in their respective fields, decided over a discussion in a restaurant to make a film. The result was the 16-minute short called Un Chien Andalou – unarguably the most famous short film ever made and a landmark work in avant-garde surrealism. This was everything that a conventional film can never aspire to be – a delirious mix of bizarre occurrences, grotesque images, unrelated events, disjointed chronology, and what-not. The film opens with one of the most shocking yet canonized film sequences – the slashing of a woman’s eye with a neatly sharpened razor, shot in disturbing close-up and without so much as a hint. Thereon, it presented one outlandish moment after another – ants crawling out of a hole in a man’s palm, a guy dragging a couple of grand pianos with a pair of dead donkeys on them, an androgynous man casually poking at a severed hand with a stick in the middle of the road, a man shooting at his own mirror image, so on an so forth. Film historians, cineastes and psychologists have racked their brains and suggested a plethora of interpretations for this; but Bunuel and Dali, in the most gleeful thumb of their noses to all the intellectuals of the world, might just as well have created this just for the fun of it. The grainy black-and-white short had a number of visual and editing tricks that were remarkable for its time, and was backed by an excellent score, comprising, among others, Wagner’s compositions, that wonderfully aided the distressing imageries and the zany playfulness of its tone and pacing.

Director: Luis Bunuel
Genre: Avant-Garde/Experimental Film/Surrealist Film/Short Film/Silent Film/Short Film
Language: French
Country: France

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