Notes from a small island
A weblog by Jonathan Ali

Friday, February 13, 2004  

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.

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.

-- From Peter Bradshaw's review of the re-released classic film, Un Chien Andalou, in today's UK Guardian Friday Arts Review. (Almost 60 years after it was first released, in what was my (indirect) introduction to the film, the Pixies paid tribute to it in their song, "Debaser"--"Got me a movie/Slicin' up eyeball/Girl it's so groovy/Don't know about you/But I am un chien Andalucia".)

posted by Jonathan | 7:52 AM 0 comments


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