Crossing the Line – Un Chien Andelou

Somehow I manage to get 2 weeks in a row without a single Smith Michael’s post to mar my perfection! And we’re super on time this week. Today our intrepid band of reviewers looks at the 15 minute surrealist film “Un Chien Andelou” or “An Andalusian Dog”. Salvador Dali and Luis Bunuel team up for this basic long term dream sequence. Among other things, it’s considered a groundbreaking film.

Tagline: SILENT FILM! NO TAG LINE!

Interesting Fact: A cow’s eye was used in the scene where the woman’s eye is slit.

Objectionable material: Eyeball slitting, ant hand, really hard to see nudity, really hard to see animal carcasses and or corpses, poor lighting, 2nd base, sort of nudity, sort of death, a man choking a doppelganger, confusing stuff

Disturbing Quote: WHAT PART OF SILENT FILM IS CONFUSING?

Screaming Girl: I don’t have much to say about this because I am assuming MBRFT and PsychoLarry have already dissected the hell out of it. But here’s my take.

Apparently Dali wasn’t really trying to say anything specific with this movie as it seems to match his art in the sense that it is more about stream of consciousness. This movie contains the same sort of stream of consciousness that composes a dream. I can actually say that I’ve had dreams that compare to this and some of the same elements have even appeared. I’ve had the dream where bugs crawl out of my body (but in my dream it was my face rather than my hand). Time seems to go by in years rather than the mind numbing crawl of minutes that curses the real world. And once or twice I’ve actually dreamed in French, which would have been much cooler had I actually listened in class. I will say I have never sliced an eyeball open with a razor in a dream, I’ve had violent and gruesome things happen but never to an eyeball. To me that was the only real squeamish thing about the movie. If this was an actual dream of Dali’s I’m sure Freud would have a field day.

I am sure that this is a very important film according to film buffs. But I am not a film buff, I am an average person and the truth is that the movie just didn’t do it for me and I’d rather not see it again. It is not because of any controversial content it’s merely because it was boring and I can think of quite a few other things I’d rather do with ten minutes of my life. For instance I could have my own crazy French dream, at least then I’d be less confused at the end.

MBRFT: Compared to the preceding weeks of rape, torture, coprophilia and animal snuff footage, “Un Chien Andelou” is a cake walk. After the infamous opening shot, we have only a stream-of-consciousness montage of bizarre and certainly heretical imagery that, according to the filmmakers, symbolizes nothing. Fair enough. This 1929 silent film has two things in common with my 9th grade biology class: I almost always fall asleep during it and the only thing I can ever remember about it is the eyeball dissection. I’ve seen plenty of horror films go straight for the eyeballs to make the audience squirm (“Zombi 2” being particularly memorable and “Salo” getting another honorable mention), but none are quite as potent as this little exercise in surrealism. Maybe it’s the subtlety of the moment or the effective match-cut of clouds slicing through a full moon or just the impossibly-straight face of the victim as if she’s there just to get her bangs cut. This scene alone was the creepiest thing to come out of Spain before Javier Bardem. At least they used a dead calf’s eye as a stunt double (I assume the calf died of natural causes). And the film did inspire a pretty good song by the Pixies [PsychoLarry note: the song is Debaser].

PsychoLarry: What do you say about this film? Hoodwinked. A guy rides a bike, sees some lady falls down cracks his skull open. Discotheque. A guy seems to shoot ants out of his hand (lame super villain?). Omni-bus. A man chokes another version of himself over some French girl for the right to grab her boobs and make her clothes magically disappear. Arabian Nights. The movie is soaked in ID and dream sex/death. Ransack. It does what it’s supposed to do I guess, being a surrealist film. Washer-Dryer. Damn it, if they aren’t going to make coherent film statements, I won’t make a coherent review. Apple juice.

Come on back next week, when we are vaguely creeped out by deformed people in “Freaks”.

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