Un Chien Andalou (1929)

“An Andalousian Dog”

5 STARS

General Information:

Information below is taken from the following link: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0020530/

15  16 min  –  Short | Fantasy   –  6 June 1929 (France)

YouTube link to short film: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L9zhKuV86NA

Director

Luis Buñuel

Writer

Salvador Dalí; Luis Buñuel

Stars

Pierre Batcheff; Simone Mareuil

Plot:

An eye is slit, a woman falls off of a bicycle, a man has ants crawling on his hands, books turn into shotguns and many more surreal events occur.

Review

Un Chien Andalou is the greatest prank in cinema history. It’s an attack on the mainstream, it’s an unorthodox cinemagoers’ wet-dream, it’s a shockingly pointless nightmare.

Those who waste their time by attempting to find meaning in this are the main target audience of this film. Not only that, but they are the people with the mindsets that this film targets in the first place. To attempt to describe its ‘plot’ is merely listing its shots. In fact, the irony of writing this review was writing something in the ‘plot’ section in the first place.

Un Chien Andalou was made by the great surrealists: Luis Bunuel and Salvador Dali – who is mainly known for his paintings. The point of Un Chien Andalou is to attack society and  its norms through the meaning of cinema.

Salvador Dali - a surrealist painter

Salvador Dali - a surrealist painter

When we watch a film, we unconsciously apply logic to it: one event will trigger another event, which in turn, triggers another, and so on…Yet, in Un Chien Andalou, the events are completely unconnected, and we are lead into a false sense of security by believing this when we are told time differences occasionally between shots, for example: “Sixteen years before”. The time differences in this film are utterly irrelevant to the narrative, in the same way that each individual ‘sub-plot’ serves no use in driving the narrative any further. This is what makes the film utterly frustrating.

SIXTEEN YEARS BEFORE

SIXTEEN YEARS BEFORE

The film also attempts to shock us, not just by its use of ‘anti-narrative’, but by what we’re shown. Many critics have commented on the first shots being a woman’s eye being slit with a razor, but there are other sequences to.

The infamous eye-slitting scene

The infamous eye-slitting scene

A woman is sexually harassed by a man, he fondles her and when he touches her, she suddenly has no clothes, and then seconds later, she has clothes. Later on, she’s in the corner of a room, and the same man traps her in that corner whilst dragging a piano holding dead donkeys on it. I have frequently heard that this film has ‘dream  logic’, yet in my opinion, it doesn’t. After all, dreams have more logic than this film, and this film doesn’t have any form of ‘logic’.

Everything in this film is random and illogical. Even the title, which translates as “An Andalousian Dog”. The title isn’t related to the film at all, there is no dog in this film, let alone an ‘andalousian’ one.

It was somewhat difficult to come up with a star rating for this film. The fundamental basis of criticism is: “did the film do what it intended to do?” I was frustrated by this film, I hated it, it annoyed me and dare I say, it irritated me. Yet I suppose, that was how I was meant to feel, and in an odd way, that makes it a masterpiece.

Verdict:

You’ll be utterly frustrated by watching this 16 minute anti-narrative film. It won’t make you feel happy, sad or any emotion like conventional cinema, apart from one: frustration.

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2 thoughts on “Un Chien Andalou (1929)

  1. Pingback: A-Z of Film…PART FIVE « Star Reviews

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