Un Chien Andalou



This is the granddaddy of surrealist cinema, preceded only by Germaine Dulac’s “La Coquille et le Clergyman” (The Seashell and the Clergyman-1928). It involves the teaming of Luis Bunuel with Salvador Dali in order to cut into the eye of the (at the time) modern cinema viewer, and it does so quite literally, what with the opening shot of a woman’s eye being slashed with a razor.

But all those looking too deep in the film, be damned. There isn’t supposed to be deeper meaning, or connotation! If anything, this is what you have: in the beginning, we see Luis Buinel, our director. He is the man who will be cutting the film; and our senses. The lady’s eye gets slashed. We never see Bunuel for the film’s seventeen minute remainder. We do, however, see the lady again, in the very next shot. This is the film that rocked the sensibility of the public. And it worked. And it is still discussed today. However, I prefer Luis’ later work, after he reigned in his surreal craziness and applied it to story and craft.

But, ah, what else can be said? I will viciously kick you in the face after tossing a bucket of lemurs at you, and then we will fly oh so high into the friendly sky until we reach the moon, where we will be greeted by space monkeys who will give us flowers and share with us all that our love has to offer, until we fall from gravity and never see each other again, which is probably why I kicked you in the first place. But I will see you at the races, wearing a penguin outfit and chained by several West Indian dwarves that will play cymbals on their fingers.

And other than that, the only thing I can think to mention is that Luis and Salvador never worked again. They tried to, but didn’t’ see eye-to-eye, perhaps because it had already been cut open. So Dali went Hollywood, and actually disgraced Luis in his autobiography, causing Bunuel to have trouble finding work for years, not until he went to Mexico, I believe. Luckily he recovered in time to give us some great cinema. If all of that is true, shame on you Salvador, shame on you! And I liked what you did in “Spellbound.”

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