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The crowd clears when the policeman places the hand in the box previously carried by the young man and gives it to the young woman. The androgynous young woman contemplates something happily while standing in the middle of the now busy street clutching the box. She is then run over by a car and a few bystanders gather around her. The young man and the young woman watch these events unfold from the apartment window. The young man seems to take sadistic pleasure in the androgynous young woman’s danger and subsequent death, and as he gestures at the shocked young woman in the room with him, he leers at her and grasps her breasts.
Un Chien Andalou has no plot in the conventional sense of the word. The chronology of the film is disjointed, jumping from the initial “once upon a time” to “eight years later” without the events or characters changing very much. It uses dream logic in narrative flow that can be described in terms of then-popular Freudian free association, presenting a series of tenuously related scenes.
A group of bandits stage a brazen train hold-up, only to find a determined posse hot on their heels.
Trivia Luis Buñuel told Salvador Dalí 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 dreamt about a hand crawling with ants.
Out of these two dreams this film was born. See more »
1 Synopsis 2 Cast 3 Background 4 Production 5 Initial reception and aftermath 6 Soundtrack 7 Influence 8 See also 9 References 10 Further reading 11 External links
It is presented in a double-bill with Buñuel and Dali’s later collaboration, L’Age d’Or from 1930, which, perhaps suffers a little in comparison with the poetic compression of the first masterpiece. There are hilarious moments in this bizarre, dreamlike revelation of a man and a woman and their opposition to the powers of church and state: it is wild, chaotic and the great ancestor of all underground movies since.
Both of the leading actors of the film eventually committed suicide: Batcheff overdosed on Veronal on April 13, 1932 in a hotel in Paris, and Mareuil committed self-immolation on October 24, 1954 by dousing herself in gasoline and burning herself to death in a public square in Périgueux, Dordogne.
Among the most enthusiastic viewers of the film were the wealthy couple Viscount Charles and Marie-Laure de Noailles, who commissioned Dalí and Buñuel to create a sequel, of around the same length, with sound, to be called La Bête Andalouse, in order to affirm its connection with Un Chien. Dalí stated that the theme of the new film was to parallel that of the first: “to present the straight and pure ‘conduct’ of someone who continues to pursue love despite wretched humanitarian ideals, patriotism and the other poor mechanisms of reality.” This new film ultimately was released in 1930 under the title L’Age d’Or but was quickly withdrawn by the Noailles family after being banned by the Prefecture of Police of Paris.
Hypnotist Dr. Caligari uses a somnambulist, Cesare, to commit murders.
A surreal, virtually plotless series of dreams centered around six middle-class people and their consistently interrupted attempts to have a meal together.
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In the midst of the Russian Revolution of 1905, the crew of the battleship Potemkin mutiny against the brutal, tyrannical regime of the vessel’s officers. The resulting street demonstration in Odessa brings on a police massacre.
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Stars: Aleksandr Antonov, Vladimir Barskiy, Grigoriy Aleksandrov
In Un Chien Andalou, the cinema becomes an anti-rational arena for that which is elsewhere unthinkable and inadmissible. A cloud drifts across a floating moon; a razor slices a woman’s eyeball; grand pianos with dead cattle are dragged across a bourgeois sitting room; ants scurry in and out of a hole in a man’s hand; his mouth is transformed into armpit hair – one of the most disquieting, hilarious images ever committed to celluloid. When Foucault wrote about Borges’s mythical Chinese encyclopaedia with its bizarre classifications, he says he laughed out loud at “the stark impossibility of thinking that”. The images in Un Chien Andalou make you laugh the same way.
Stars: Gilbert M. ‘Broncho Billy’ Anderson, A.C. Abadie, George Barnes
The subsequent title card reads “Sixteen years ago.” We see the second young man’s face for the first time (and discover that he is also played by Pierre Batcheff) as he admires the art supplies and books on the table near the wall and forces the first young man to hold two of the books as he stares at the wall. The first young man eventually shoots the second young man when the books abruptly turn into pistols. The second young man, now in a meadow, dies while swiping at the back of a nude female figure which suddenly disappears into thin air. A group of men come and carry his corpse away.
The subsequent title card reads “around three in the morning”. The young man is roused from his rest by the sound of a door-buzzer ringing (represented visually by a Martini shaker being shaken by a set of arms through two holes in a wall). The young woman goes to answer the door and does not return. Another young man, whom we see only from behind, dressed in lighter clothing, arrives in the apartment, gesturing angrily at him. The second young man forces the first one to throw away his nun’s clothing and then makes him stand with his face to the wall, as if in disgrace.
The guests at an upper-class dinner party find themselves unable to leave.
Plot Keywords: surrealism | piano | donkey | grand piano | breast fondling | See All (45) »
The lyrics of the Pixies song “Debaser” are based on Un Chien Andalou.
During the bicycle scene, the woman who is sitting on a chair, reading, throws the book aside when she notices the man who has fallen. The image it shows when it lies open is a reproduction of a painting by Vermeer, whom Dalí greatly admired and often referred to in his own paintings.
In Buñuel’s original script, the final shot was to feature the corpses of the man and woman “consumed by swarms of flies”. However, this special effect was modified due to budget limitations, with the film ending with a still shot of the man and woman, who had been walking in the previous beach scene, half-buried in the sand and apparently dead.
Un Chien Andalou Cert 15 Peter BradshawFriday 13 February 2004The Guardian
In a surrealistic film with input from Salvador Dalí, director Luis Buñuel presents stark, surrealistic images including the slitting open of a woman’s eye and a dead horse being pulled along on top of a piano. A mysterious film open to interpretations ranging from deep to completely meaningless, this short (17-minute) film certainly presented something new in the cinema of its day. Written by garykmcd
Cast Simone Mareuil as Young Girl (as Simonne Mareuil) Pierre Batcheff as Young Man and Second Young Man (as Pierre Batchef) Luis Buñuel as Man in Prologue (uncredited) Salvador Dalí as Seminarist and as Man on Beach (uncredited) Robert Hommet as Third Young Man (uncredited) Marval as Seminarist (uncredited) Fano Messan as Androgynous Young Woman (uncredited) Jaime Miravilles as Fat seminarist (uncredited) Background
Not Rated | 16min | Short, Fantasy, Horror | 6 June 1929 (France)
Viridiana, a young nun about to take her final vows, pays a visit to her widowed uncle at the request of her Mother Superior.
A group of juvenile delinquents live a violent and crime-filled life in the festering slums of Mexico City, and the morals of young Pedro are gradually corrupted and destroyed by the others…
Connections Referenced in Venom and Eternity (1951) See more »
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.” He also stated: “Nothing, in the film, symbolizes anything. The only method of investigation of the symbols would be, perhaps, psychoanalysis.”
The idea for the film began when Buñuel was working as an assistant director for Jean Epstein in France. 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.
Anthropologist Jean Rouch has reported that after filming was complete, Buñuel and Dalí had run out of money, forcing Buñuel to edit the film personally in his kitchen without the aid of a Moviola or any other technical equipment.
Soundtracks Recuerdos Performed by Vicente Alvarez & ‘Carlos Otero’ See more »
The movie contains several thematic references to Federico García Lorca and other writers of that time. For example, the rotting donkeys are a reference to the popular children’s novel Platero y yo by Juan Ramón Jiménez, which Buñuel and Dalí hated.
In his 1939 autobiography Buñuel said: “In the film the aesthetics of Surrealism are combined to some of Freud’s discoveries. The film was totally in keeping with the basic principle of the school, which defined Surrealism as “Psychic Automatism”, unconscious, capable of returning to the mind its true functions, beyond any form of control by reason, morality or aesthetics.”
A surrealistic documentary portrait of the region of Las Hurdes, a remote region of Spain where civilisation has barely developed, showing how the local peasants try to survive without even the most basic utilities and skills.
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Film scholar Ken Dancyger has argued that Un Chien Andalou might be the genesis of the filmmaking style present in the modern music video. Roger Ebert had called it the inspiration for low budget independent films.
See also List of films with a 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, a film review aggregator website References Further reading Buñuel, Luis; Salvador Dalí (1968). Classic Film Scripts: L’Age d’Or and Un Chien Andalou.
Marianne Alexandre (trans.). New York: Simon and Schuster. ISBN 0-85647-079-1. External links Un Chien Andalou on IMDb Un Chien Andalou at AllMovie Un Chien Andalou at Rotten Tomatoes Un Chien Andalou analyzed by Michael Koller Un Chien Andalou, from Shatter, Rupture, Break one of the Art Institute of Chicago’s digital scholarly catalogues
A woman returning home falls asleep and has vivid dreams that may or may not be happening in reality. Through repetitive images and complete mismatching of the objective view of time and space, her dark inner desires play out on-screen.
A man travels around a city with a camera slung over his shoulder, documenting urban life with dazzling invention.
The young woman returns to the apartment and sees a death’s-head moth. The first young man sneers at her as she retreats and wipes his mouth off his face with his hand. The young woman very nervously applies some lipstick in response. Subsequently, the first young man makes the young woman’s armpit hair attach itself to where his mouth would be on his face through gestures. The young woman looks at the first young man with disgust, and leaves the apartment sticking her tongue out at him.
Directed by Luis Buñuel Produced by Luis Buñuel Pierre Braunberger Written by Luis Buñuel Salvador Dalí Starring Pierre Batcheff Simone Mareuil Luis Buñuel Salvador Dalí Jaime Miravilles Music by Richard Wagner Cinematography Albert Dubergen Jimmy Berliet (uncredited) Edited by Luis Buñuel Distributed by Les Grands Films Classiques (France)
The subsequent title card reads “eight years later”. A slim young man (Pierre Batcheff) bicycles down a calm urban street wearing what appears to be a nun’s habit and a striped box with a strap around his neck. A cut occurs to the young woman from the first scene, who has been reading in a sparingly furnished upstairs apartment. She hears the young man approaching on his bicycle and casts aside the book she was reading (revealing a reproduction of Vermeer’s The Lacemaker). She goes to the window and sees the young man lying on the curb, his bicycle on the ground. She emerges from the building and attempts to revive the young man.
Goofs When the young woman with the box is about to be run over by a car, she raises her hands. At that moment she is not holding the box. In the next shot just before the accident she is holding the box again. See more »
Through their accomplishment with Un Chien Andalou, Dalí and Buñuel became the first filmmakers to be officially welcomed into the ranks of the Surrealists by the movement’s leader André Breton, an event recalled by film historian Georges Sadoul: “Breton had convoked the creators to our usual venue [the Café Radio] … one summer’s evening. Dalí had the large eyes, grace, and timidity of a gazelle. To us, Buñuel, big and athletic, his black eyes protruding a little, seemed exactly like he always is in Un Chien Andalou, meticulously honing the razor that will slice the open eye in two.”
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Premiere ranked the opening scene as 10th out of “The 25 Most Shocking Moments in Movie History”.
The film opens with a title card reading “Once upon a time”. A middle-aged man (Luis Buñuel) sharpens his razor at his balcony door and tests the razor on his thumb. He then opens the door, and idly fingers the razor while gazing at the moon, about to be engulfed by a thin cloud, from his balcony. There is a cut to a close-up of a young woman (Simone Mareuil) being held by the man. She calmly stares straight ahead as he brings the razor near her eye. Another cut occurs to the moon being overcome by the cloud, then a cut to a close up of a hand slitting the eye of an animal with the razor (which happens so quickly the viewer may believe it was the woman’s eye), and the vitreous humour spills out from it.
A surrealist tale of a man and a woman who are passionately in love with each other, but their attempts to consummate that passion are constantly thwarted by their families, the Church, and bourgeois society.
Filming Locations: Le Havre, Seine-Maritime, France See more »
21 minutes Country France Language Silent film (French intertitles) Budget Un Chien Andalou (French pronunciation: [œ̃ ʃjɛ̃ ɑ̃dalu], An Andalusian Dog) is a 1929 French silent surrealist short film by Spanish director Luis Buñuel and artist Salvador Dalí.
 It was Buñuel’s first film and was initially released in 1929 with a limited showing at Studio des Ursulines in Paris, but became popular and ran for eight months.
The young woman resists him at first, but then allows him to touch her as he imagines her nude from the front and the rear. The young woman pushes him away as he drifts off and she attempts to escape by running to the other side of the room. The young man corners her as she reaches for a racquet in self-defense, but he suddenly picks up two ropes and drags two grand pianos containing dead and rotting donkeys, stone tablets containing the Ten Commandments, two pumpkins, and two rather bewildered priests (played by Jaime Miravilles and Salvador Dalí) who are attached by the ropes. As he is unable to pursue, the young woman escapes the room. The young man chases after her, but she traps his hand, which is infested with ants, in the door. She finds the young man in the next room, dressed in his nun’s garb in the bed.
The film was financed by Buñuel’s mother, and shot in Le Havre and Paris at the Billancourt Studios over a period of 10 days in March 1928. It is a black and white, 35mm, silent film, with a running time of 17 minutes, although some sources state 24 minutes, and a physical length of 430 meters.
As she exits her apartment, the street is replaced by a coastal beach, where the young woman meets a third man with whom she walks arm in arm. He shows her the time on his watch and they walk near the rocks, where they find the remnants of the first young man’s nun’s clothing and the box. They seem to walk away clutching each other happily and make romantic gestures in a long tracking shot. However, the film abruptly cuts to the final shot with a title card reading “In Spring,” showing the couple buried in beach sand up to their elbows, motionless and perhaps dead.
The first screening of Un Chien Andalou took place at Studio des Ursulines, with an audience of le tout-Paris. Notable attendees of the première included Pablo Picasso, Le Corbusier, Jean Cocteau, Christian Bérard and George Auric, in addition to the entirety of André Breton’s Surrealist group. The audience’s positive reception of the film amazed Buñuel, who was relieved that no violence ensued. Dalí, on the contrary, was reportedly disappointed, feeling the audience’s reaction made the evening “less exciting.” Buñuel since claimed that prior to the show, he had put stones in his pockets “to throw at the audience in case of disaster”, although others had no recollection of this.
Rock music fans around the world watched the film in its entirety during David Bowie’s 1976 Isolar Tour. The film was shown before each show in lieu of an opening musical act.
Sensual, shocking and deeply subversive, Luis Buñuel and Salvador Dali’s surreal short from 1928, Un Chien Andalou, is a masterpiece of provocation: one of the few films – arguably the only film – really to use the medium’s potential for pure anarchy.
Luis Buñuel and Salvador Dalí present 17 minutes of bizarre, surreal imagery.
During the original 1929 screening in Paris, Buñuel selected music which he played live on a gramophone. Modern prints of the film feature a soundtrack consisting of excerpts from Richard Wagner’s “Liebestod” from his opera Tristan und Isolde and a recording of two Argentinian tangos, “Tango Argentino” and “Recuerdos” by the Vicente Alvarez & Carlos Otero et son orchestre. They were first added to a print of the film in 1960 under Buñuel’s supervision.
Edit Cast Complete credited cast: Simone Mareuil … Young girl (as Simonne Mareuil) Pierre Batcheff … Man (as Pierre Batchef)
It was Buñuel’s intention to shock and insult the intellectual bourgeoisie of his youth, later saying: “Historically, this film represents a violent reaction against what at that time was called ‘avantgarde cine,’ which was directed exclusively to the artistic sensibility and to the reason of the spectator.” Against his hopes and expectations, the film was a huge success amongst the French bourgeoisie, leading Buñuel to exclaim in exasperation, “What can I do about the people who adore all that is new, even when it goes against their deepest convictions, or about the insincere, corrupt press, and the inane herd that saw beauty or poetry in something which was basically no more than a desperate impassioned call for murder?”
For many years (and still), published and unpublished reports have circulated that Buñuel had used a dead pig’s eye, or that of a dead sheep, or of a dead donkey, or other animal, in the notorious eyeball-slicing scene. However, in an interview in 1975 or ’76, Buñuel claimed that he had used a dead calf’s eye. Through the use of intense lighting, and bleaching of the calf’s skin, Buñuel attempted to make the furred face of the animal appear as human skin.
Later, the young woman assembles pieces of the young man’s clothing on a bed in the upstairs room, and concentrates upon the clothing. The young man appears near the door. The young man and the young woman stare at his hand, which has a hole in the palm from which ants emerge. A slow transition occurs focusing on the armpit hair of the young woman as she lies on the beach and a sea urchin at a sandy location. There is a cut to an androgynous young woman, with bobbed hair and dressed in rather masculine attire, in the street below the apartment. She pokes at a severed human hand with her cane while surrounded by a large crowd and a policeman.
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Categories: 1929 films1920s short filmsSurrealist filmsSalvador DalíFilms directed by Luis BuñuelFrench black-and-white filmsFrench filmsFrench silent short films1920s avant-garde and experimental films