Monday, May 26, 2014

Un Chien Andalou - 1929

"Un Chien Andalou" - 1929
Dir. by Luis Bunuel - 21 min.

Full Movie

by Clayton Hollifield

"Un Chien Andalou" is a film that you should probably see.  From what I have gathered, it's historically important (one of the earliest examples of surrealist filmmaking), made by historically important artists (director Luis Bunuel and co-writer Salvador Dali), and it's full of prime weirdness.  And it's only twenty-one minutes long (or sixteen - I couldn't quite figure it out, and just watched the longer version, which is the hazard of relying on YouTube to watch something; there's nothing that just flat-out says "this is the official version"), so it's not like you're mortgaging your life on whether or not this is entertaining, or at least interesting .

This isn't really a "plot" kind of movie, so there's not much point in getting into all of that.  It's a silent film, albeit with a score (again, at least the version I watched), so the draw of "Un Chien Andalou" is a series of unusual and unsettling visuals.  I guess the only fair way to judge this by whether or not it still packs a punch, close to a century after being made.  I'd have to say it does - there's a famous eyeball-related scene, and that's pretty gruesome.  But that's hardly the only thing within that might inhabit your nightmares for a few days.  And I don't know what PETA's stance is on using dead animals within your movie; if they don't object to cheeseburgers being filmed, I'm not sure that what's on-screen here is any worse for the animals involved.

"Un Chien Andalou" is tough to talk about.  Part of the effectiveness of the film relies upon shock value and upsetting images, and it's such a short piece of unconventional work that discussion of things like acting or filmmaking technique or the effectiveness of it's plot aren't meaningful.  If you like surrealism or just plain weirdness, cough up twenty minutes and dig in to "Un Chien Andalou."  It won't disappoint on that front, even if it's not as polished as later works in this vein, like anything by Alejandro Jodorowsky or Fellini.  But it's a sturdy foundation upon which later weirdness was built, and that makes it meaningful.

3.5 / 5 - Streaming

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