Un Chien andalou

"Essential"

Un Chien andalou Review


It was released in 1929, but it still has the power to make audiences cringe today and it may remain the most notorious 16 minutes of film ever made. Called by director Luis Buñuel a "call to murder," and born of the Surrealist movement in art, Un Chien Andalou is one of the chief cultural artifacts from a time when film aspired to something larger than mere storytelling.

There is no plot, per se, but rather an amalgamation of images centering on a romance seemingly being conducted between the film's leads. Although Buñuel subverts every expectation that a viewer might bring to the film (time moves arbitrarily forward and backward, characters vanish and reappear, and the action remains stubbornly illegible), the images he uses to convey his deeper meanings remain passionate, resonant, and alarmingly, weirdly sexual to this day. These deeper meanings have to do with the innate drives sublimated to society, and in Un Chien Andalou they pop out everywhere with horrifying insistence: ants crawl from a hole in a human hand, pubic hair grows on faces, and, in the film's most infamous passage, an eyeball is slit with a razor just as a cloud cuts across the face of the moon. It's unsettling at least, but it also genuinely hypnotizes.

The best testimony I can offer on behalf of Un Chien Andalou is a personal one. I first saw this film when I was fifteen; roughly half way through I made the realization that it didn't make sense on purpose and my life, without exaggeration, was thus changed. Un Chien andalou was my introduction to the power of the irrational and to the concept that art could exist for its own sake. Twenty-five years after my own initiation - and 75 years after the film's release - it's my fervent hope that, in the company of Un Chien Andalou, more young recruits are being born.

Un Chien Andalou, like Buñuel's glorious 1930 feature L'Âge d'or, has been made available on DVD at long last with extras including a scholarly commentary track and a pair of interviews with Buñuel and his followers.

Aka An Andalusian Dog.



Un Chien andalou

Facts and Figures

Run time: 16 mins

In Theaters: Thursday 6th June 1929

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 100%
Fresh: 20

IMDB: 7.9 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Luis Buñuel

Producer: Luis Buñuel

Starring: Luis Buñuel as Mann im Prolog, as Seminarist, as Mann, as Mädchen, Robert Hommet as Junger Mann, Marval as Seminarist, Fano Messan as Hermaphrodite, Jaume Miravitlles as Seminarist

Also starring:

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