Top 250 Tuesday: #094 – Un Chien Andalou (1929)

Continuing to wend my way through the Sight and Sound Top 250 Greatest Movies of All Time. This week, it’s #144 on the list, Luis Bunuel and Salvador DaliUn Chien Andalou. For a longer introduction to this series and a look at the full list, just click here. And if you want a heads-up on what I’ll be watching for next week in case you want to watch along, just head on over to the Facebook page or follow me on Twitter (both of those links are in the sidebar) where I’ll generally be posting that info later in the day.

un-chien-andalou-1929-L-brzo1tDavid Lynch wishes he could be this bizarre and intriguing.

That was my first thought upon watching Luis Bunuel and Salvador Dali’s surrealist short masterpiece Un Chien Andalou (translated: An Andalusian Dog).

The film runs only 16 minutes, but those minutes are filled with the kind of images that can only occur in dreams (or perhaps I should say nightmares). And that’s exactly the point.

Rightfully for a film of this type, and especially one this important to cinema, it still holds the power to shock.

Un Chien Anadalou was Bunuel’s first film, and in teaming with noted surrealist painter Salvador Dali for the script for this film, he found a true partner who could help tp bring his idea of disconnected dream inspired visions to life. I’m not going to bother trying to describe the plot or even give you any description of the images that await you in watching the film, instead I’ll simply embed the entire thing below and encourage you to experience (and I do mean experience as opposed to simply watch) the entire thing for yourself, allowing it to unfold before you.

What I will do, is give you a bit more background on the film, courtesy of Wikipedia:

Buñuel told Dalí at a restaurant one day about a dream in which a cloud sliced the moon in half “like a razor blade slicing through an eye”. Dalí responded that he’d dreamed about a hand crawling with ants. Excitedly, Buñuel declared: “There’s the film, let’s go and make it.” They were fascinated by what the psyche could create, and decided to write a script based on the concept of suppressed human emotions.

In deliberate contrast to the approach taken by Jean Epstein and his peers, which was to never leave anything in their work to chance, with every aesthetic decision having a rational explanation and fitting clearly into the whole, Buñuel made clear throughout his writings that, between Dalí and himself, the only rule for the writing of the script was: “No idea or image that might lend itself to a rational explanation of any kind would be accepted.”[5] He also stated: “Nothing, in the film, symbolizes anything. The only method of investigation of the symbols would be, perhaps, psychoanalysis.”

Again, since the film runs only 16 minutes, I encourage you to watch it for yourself. I’m not going to guarantee that you’re going to enjoy it as much as I did, but I do suspect it will be an experience that you won’t soon forget.

So what are your thoughts on Un Chien Andalou? Is it a movie that you’ve seen or would like to? If you have seen it, is it one that would make your own Top 10 list? Or would it not even crack your Top 250? Let me know below.

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5 comments on “Top 250 Tuesday: #094 – Un Chien Andalou (1929)

  1. […] 092 (90) – Aguirre, Wrath of God 093 (93) – Intolerance [17 votes] 094 (93) – Un chien andalou 095 (93) – Colonel Blimp 096 (93) – Madame de… 097 (93) – Seventh Seal 098 (93) […]

  2. jcalberta says:

    You are listing so many movies that I’ve never heard of …
    I realize how pathetic my knowledge of cinema is.
    Brave to you. I acknowledge you as my educator.

    • Michael Laws says:

      Thanks so much for both the comment and the compliment! It’s notes like this that really help to keep me going on this little adventure I’ve undertaken.

      Trust me, though, when I say I’m learning as much as anyone when it comes to watching these films. That’s one of the main reasons I started this in the first place, – to expand both my filmic horizons and knowledge. And it’s definitely one of those situations where I continually am reminded that the more I learn, the more there is to learn.

      Nonetheless, I’m definitely glad you’re enjoying these posts.

  3. Beer Movie says:

    Great review, I am also a big fan of this film. It wouldn’t be in my top 10, but it would probably crack my top 250.

  4. This is a great film. It really feels like someone just filmed my nightmares for sixteen minutes and then put it in a black and white film. And then set it in 1928.
    –JW

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