Un chien Andalou
The silent short film from 1929 Un Chien Andalou is a surrealist artpiece made by the Spanish director Luis Buñuel and artist Salvador Dalí. It was Buñuel’s first film and was initially released in 1929 to a limited showing in Paris, but became popular and ran for eight months.
The film was intended to work as a visual manifest or metaphor of the surrealistic artmovement. The film’s chronology is fragmented and disjointed. There is no plot in the conventional meaning. The film follows a narratological dream-like logic, which can be seen in the minimal changes of the characters in the transition between the initial “once upon a time” to “eight years later”. The disrupted and disjointed relations between the series of pictures represents the freudian free association flow.
The surrealist movement developed from the Dada activities during world war I and André Breton acted as a form of leader for the cultural movement that was centered in Paris in the 1920′ies. In 1924 Breton published the book Les Manifestes surréalistes, where he defines surrealism as the pure psychological automatism where one aims to orally or through writing express the real function of thought, outside all aesthetic or moral concern and without any reasonable control. Like the dadaists the surrealists wanted to distance themselves from the dominant civil values by applying randomized methods as creative principles in literature and visual arts. This lead to the development of terms like cadavre exquis, objet trouvé, frottage and readymade. Check out previous posts on readymades here and here.
Surrealism was based on the belief that behind certain kinds of associations lies a greater reality, which before surrealism remained undetected, as well as the belief in the omnipotence of dreams. Inspired by Freuds theories on dreams and the relation to subconscious the surrealists wanted to unite dream and reality into a new hyper/over-reality (sur is french for over or hyper).
stills from Un chien andalou
Original trailer of the short film
And if you’re up for it – you can check out the film in it’s entirety (16 minutes)