Un Chien Andalou (1929)
This review contains SPOILERS!
Warning: this review may contain graphic or unpleasant descriptions.
"Un Chien Andalou" or to give it its English title "An Andalusian Dog" is a grossly bizarre and impossibly difficult short film. A brain child of Luis Buñuel and Salvador Dali, this film rejoices in having no cemented plot nor limitations to the narrative.
The film opens with a man sharpening a razor and then testing it on his thumbnail. He looks out the window and the moon is shining outside with only one or two clouds in the sky. Then the film cuts to a woman sitting in a chair calmly looking straight ahead, right into the camera. She has a perplexing expression on her face, it seems smug. Then the man quickly holds her left eye open with his fingers and slices her eyeball horizontally all the way across with the razor.
If that isn't disturbing enough for you, I'm not sure what would be.
Randomly, the movie jumps to a man riding a bicycle down the street wearing a suit and over that, frilly clothing that looks like it was made for women. The woman from the 'razor incident' is now (thankfully still in possession of both her eyes) reading a book and she hears the man on the bike coming.
Through circumstances that don't make sense to me, a version of the man becomes trapped in the room with the woman. Things start to turn evil and the man's mind travels to sexual perversions.
The film has a way of confusing the viewer until it's practically impossible to understand. Perhaps the film is wanting to exhaust the viewer's mind and force it to submit to the oddity—that seems reasonable because that's the reaction I had.
There is much to analyze in "Un Chien Andalou": misogynistic tendencies, what constitutes as true masculinity, a dual nature of man, and the surrealistic essence of a dream.
There's a phrase in French which translates as: "ants in the palms" which means that someone is wanting to kill someone else or to molest them violently in some way. This is shown literally in "Un Chien Andalou", the man in the room has a hole in his hand from which come ants. He rushes towards the woman who hides in the corner, then he grabs to ropes and pulls, and a variety of objects appear on the ropes: two men, two pianos, and two dead donkeys on top of the pianos.
There are random fade outs, like the ants on the palm fading into a bush of armpit hair and then into a sea urchin.
To glean from this film, you might have to be out of your mind, or high...I'm not sure which.
It's graphically and mentally disturbing, yet it seems more like an experiment in film than an actual movie. It also seems to be the thought of two young men taunting the world, provoking, and daring the censors.
This film purposely doesn't make sense, following a dream pattern. But unlike other movies that don't quite have it all there ("To the Wonder" or "Upstream Color" to name a few modern examples) this film was neither enjoyable nor captivating enough to merit watching in the first place.
This film is hard to grade because by all rights, it achieved what its purpose was...but does that make it watchable? Not in my case, no.
Score: 2 out of 4 stars
Posted by Micah Jones