Luis Buñuel Salvador Dali «Un Chien Andalou (An Andalusian Dog» 1929.
«A surrealist, an iconoclast, a contrarian and provocateur, Buñuel claimed that his project was to pierce the self-assurance of the powerful. His work takes shape beneath the «double arches of beauty and rebellion,» as Octavio Paz put it. Recently, his sons have reasserted Buñuel's view of Un Chien andalou, as «a call to murder» against the 'museum-ifying' of the celebrations of his centenary. While this exaggerates somewhat his radicalism and outsider status, there is considerable consistency in his attacks on the bourgeoisie, whose hypocrisy and dissembling both amused and enraged him. “In a world as badly made as ours,” he said, «there is only one road – rebellion.»»
Un Chien Andalou, Salvador Dali and Luis Buñuel, 16 min. (France)
«Bunuel’s first film would fully propel Surrealism into the artistic forefront in many different ways. Un Chien Andalou would be the first successful surrealist film in Paris, be the first visible and recognized work from Salvador Dali, and generate more criticism than any other film on the 1920s. Unlike Desnos literal take on Surrealism and art, and more inline with Goudal and definitely Epstein, this film is more than a reproduction of a dream. What gives it depth, and the artistic longevity is its deliberate search for narrative incoherence and lack of Western logic. Essentially, Un Chien Andalou is a deconstruction of the conventions of narrative cinema.
One sign of this is in Bunuel’s use of inter-titles, which follow in this order: “once upon a time,” “eight years later,” “toward three in the morning,” “sixteen years before,” and “in the spring.” Some critics have gone as far as to call this a theoretical reflection on the function of intertitles, however, the real genius is in the deliberate absurdity and illogical nature of the intertitles, that create a strange context for the images which follow the words. The beginning title “once upon a time” demonstrates Bunuel’s parodic genius as he follows the title with an image of a man slicing a woman’s eye with a razor. Contrary to classical narrative, Bunuel turns this mode upon its head in the title/image relationship created. His reasons for doing so, are in direct alignment with the Surrealist ideal of overthrowing values, but what Bunuel cognitively achieves in the viewer is much more fascinating.»
«The obsession with the eye was perhaps taken to its extreme by George Bataille in his 'Story of the Eye' (San Fransisco, 1928), which includes detailed accounts of a matador and a priest's eyes being ripped out. Better known are the powerful starting frames of 'Un Chien Andalou', made by Luis Bunuel (in association with Salvador Dali) in 1928. There we see, in order: man; woman; knife; eye; moon; cloud, followed by a startling sequence in which the man slices open the woman's eye as the cloud goes across the moon.»