A Not-So-Easy Walk Through Andalusia
Director: Luis Buñuel and Salvador Dali
Film Name: Un Chien Andalou (An Andalusian Dog)
Origin and Release Year: France (1929)
Starring: Simone Mareuil, Pierre Batcheff
Un Chien Andalou (1929) is a fantasy/drama film directed by Luis Buñuel and Salvador Dali to counter symbolism within film. The fifteen-minute film, starring Simone Mareuil and Pierre Batcheff, was created from visual interpretations of their dreams and discouraged the use of interpretation to develop meaning. It is about challenging the methodology of film by reducing the importance of meaning.
This incomparably original film, takes us on a dream-like journey through the lives of our lead characters. A series of events happen that allude to a lot but no specific narrative or connection can be made from the discombobulated film. It starts with a woman having her eye cut open with a razor, referencing somehow to a cloud drifting past the moon and grabs the attention of the viewer to the point of no return. The point of no return coming from the series of confusing events thereafter.
The theme of the film was specifically not to have a theme. The idea is to consume the imagery without trying to haggle meaning from it. Difficult for a filmmaker, film student or dedicated viewer who wants to understand each element, but necessary to the artists’ desires to create something out of the ordinary. This film is interesting because its theme comes not from the film itself, but from the creator’s intent when making it.
It teaches a viewer to appreciate art without overthinking it and to later rethink the value they place on meaning.
The visuals are carefully crafted to be surreal, through seemingly random visual elements put together. They are composed to draw attention to the impossible.
These images crush symbolism and utilize motifs such as animal imagery and sexualizing of a submissive woman, by juxtaposing before and afters and fading/superimposing to show how both characters experience things differently.
It was an especially creatively taxing film for me to watch, as I don’t enjoy not understanding, but a necessary influence on my creativity. The film is an essential watch to the young filmmaker/lover in need of funneling creativity through non-conformity.
What did you think of Un Chien Andalou?