39 of 1001 Movies: Un Chien Andalou (1929)

Salvador Dali and Luis Bunuel work together in their first film to bring me yet another weird viewing. Un Chien Andalou (An Andalusian Dog) is a step into the surreal world of Dali’s mind as Bunuel directs it to life. As with L’Age D’or we have shocking scenes that leave the viewer probably more wide-eyed at what they are seeing than appalled. I couldn’t turn away from this film, and thankfully unlike L’Age D’or I didn’t feel like I was having to prepare myself to be offended. What is the point of this film though? For the someone more inclined to like the surreal then this will be right up their alley.

For a 1929 film I imagine this had to be shocking because I know it shocked me and I live in 2012. In the world I live in pornography is readily available, and violence is something that accompanies many of the movies we watch. Look at the recent box office hit Taken 2 for example. I’ve seen a few films from the 30s, and up through the 50s, and though I’m sure everyone knew what sex and violence were they definitely weren’t quick to put it in their films. It wasn’t until 1959 that people were actually voicing topics that involved things of a sexual nature with direct words about it. In this film we begin with a lady’s eyeball being slit open. It’s way more graphic than you would expect despite the fact it is only an animal’s eyeball they pretended to use as a humans. We then move toward a scene where a lady finds a hand in the road, but the owner is nowhere to be seen. Though the hand looks fake there is just something really eerie about it.

Next up probably comes the most shocking scene I imagine seeing in it for anyone. I actually wasn’t sure how to feel about it as the woman was obviously being violated. A man chases a woman around the apartment until she trapped into letting him fondle her. While fondling her it actually begins to show the woman naked, and him grasping her breasts and butt. I don’t even know that I’ve seen anything like that in a film I’ve watched this year. I guess people would tell me I’m not watching that many films then. I think on top of the fact it was filmed in 1929 added to the shock value for me. It seems like most of the time we are constantly instilled that the early 1900s were more innocent in nature, and it’s only recent times that people are beginning to explore promiscuity. The truth is people just didn’t learn from the 60s and here on what they could do with their bodies. Maybe in America, but not in France.

For a film that is only around 20 minutes long I have to say that I almost have more to say about it than many I’ve watched. I can’t say I particularly liked it, because there are some things that left me unsettled. As far as it’s place in film history it definitely has some standing. The film probably won’t make much sense to many viewers though. With it’s take on being surreal that means many of the things allude to things within what is being seen.

Rating 2 of 5.

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