Un Chien Andalou + L'Age D'Or (8/26)

The uneasy social tension between natural sexual urges and civil authority has provided ammunition for a lot of filmmakers, but none knew how to exploit it better than the greatest of all surrealist filmmakers, Luis Buñuel. His later color films like Belle De Jour and The Phantom of Liberty thrive on tweaking audiences’ libidos with a wonderfully subversive sense of humor, but perhaps his most audacious statments in this arena came at the beginning of his career with his first short and feature: Un Chien Andalou (1929) and L’Age d’Or (1930).

“Made in 1929, Un Chien Andalou is regarded as the first film produced purely from within the Surrealist movement. Based on an exchange of dreams between Buñuel and acclaimed artist Salvador Dali, this tale of unfulfilled desire opens innocently with the words “Once upon a time.” What follows is one of the most shocking and celebrated sequences in film history: a razor slashing a woman’s eye in extreme close up… Intended to provoke rather than to please (Buñuel saw it as “nothing more than a desperate and passionate appeal to murder”), Un Chien Andalou is a triumph of art, and a hysterically dark joy ride whose power to affront the viewer is undiminished after more than three quarters of a century.” (Fandor) Our presentation includes a newly-restored alternate score, highlighting Wagner’s “Liebestod”!
Dir. Luis Buñuel, 1929, DCP, 21 min.

After Un Chien Andalou caused an international stir, Buñuel was poised to take his philosophy one step further. The end result proved so inflammatory that the French government ordered the film to be banned immediately, with all materials destroyed (or so they thought!) The feature is fragmentary in nature and, after an opening sequence comprised of documentary footage about scorpions, follows the irrational urges of a man and woman whose constant need to make love everywhere (from a puddle of mud to a high society party) is thwarted by the powers that be. Surprisingly, many of the trademarks of the former’s films are already fully formed here: the anti-clerical humor, the bourgeois garden party in which propriety rules under the most absurd of circumstances, and shocking sexual fetishism.
Dir. Luis Buñuel, 1930, 35mm, 63 min.

Watch Cinefamily’s original trailer for “The Early Surrealism of Bunuel”!