Un Chien Andalou (An Andalusian Dog) is a surrealistic film created in 1928. It was written by two young, largely unknown men, Salvador Dali and Luis Bunuel, and directed by the latter. Of course, both these guys got plenty more than their fifteen minutes of fame...

Chien was Bunuel's first film. The movie was not intended to make any sense, and the title (Especially considering that there is not a single dog in the movie) illustrates this perfectly.

The film is based on dreams the two men had had - Bunuel told Dali that he dreamt he saw a moon being sliced in two by the clouds. Dali wondered if it was like a razor cutting through an eyeball. Which got the story running. They tried to invent shocking scenarios, and included them into the film (very much like the video to Nine inch Nails' Closer, come to think of it).

The film - about 10 minutes in length - remains one of the most famous short films in the history of cinematography.

About the film

The film is highly confusing, filled with all kinds of symbolism that I personally can't make an awful lot of sense of. The first shot of the film is somebody slicing somebody else's eyeball with a razorblade*, and this is pretty much the tone of the film. Sections of seemingly unrelated actions - ants walking out of a man's hand, a sexual assault, a guy dragging two grand pianos with donkeys and priests on it, and hands laying around in the street. Very, very bizarre.

*) This was of course not a real human eye, but rather the eye of a calf :-) Still gets quite a response from most people who watch the film, though.

Bunuel had on several occasions laughed at people trying to link the clips, and at one point said something to the effect that the analyst's behaviour is a parallel to human behaviour; looking for things that aren't there.

This applies both for the individual scenes, but also for the scenes themselves: where the sexual assailant is rejected, and afterwards starts pulling the grand pianos along; people would normally assume that these two actions would have to have a connection. Bunuel, however, claims this is not important, and that actions should be seen as individual actions.

Audio:

In the 1960s, music was added to the film, taken from Tristan and Isolde by Richard Wagner. The music was added because Luis Bunuel thought that the film needed some aural inspiration as well. Strangely enough, the music fits the film very well.

Starring:

Simonne Mareuil and Pierre Batchef.

Pictures from the film!

At this address, you can find pictures of all the keyframes in the film, and get a good idea of its action. You will still want to see the film though :)
http://www.tcf.ua.edu/Classes/Jbutler/T340/SurrealismUnChienAndalou1.htm
An Andalusian Dog
Un Chien Andalou

Written and directed by Luis Bunuel and Salvador Dali.
Score by Richard Wagner.
Cinematography by Albert Duverger.
Cast includes Pierre Barcheff as The Cyclist, Simone Mareuil as The Woman, Luis Bunuel as The Man with the Razor, also Dali and Jaime Maraville as The Marxist Monks.

This is a 1929 silent, black and white film, which featured the collaboration of two great minds, Luis Bunuel, and Salvador Dali. The movie itself is 17 minutes long.

Originally, Bunuel had written a short screenplay for a film which he planned to make with money from his mother. Dali had seen this screenplay, but found it mediocre. He informed Bunuel that he himself had written a short screenplay which had the touch of genius, and deliberately countered the contemporary cinema. Together, Bunuel and Dali worked out several ideas, and the title, Le Chien Andalou.

Originally Bunuel had taken on the directing, casting, staging and production, but later Dali moved to Paris and kept in close touch with progress or the film, and took part in directing. Bunuel without question accepted every idea and suggestion by Dali, and incorporated them into the movie.

Even before the making of the movie began, the two artists had agreed that they will not accept any idea or image that was susceptible of rational, psychological, or cultural explication. The film was meant to break away from avant-garde tradition by focusing on content and meaning of the images, as well as cinematic content. At the time, the film was accepted as anti-bourgeois. Dali and Bunuel were out to open a door into the irrational, and in accepting the striking images for the film they were not concerned about the possible rationale of the images. The man dragging a piano, for example, was meant to question man's progress in life, being hindered by the baggage of conventional society.

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