Un Chien Andalou

Essay by lewislewislewisUniversity, Bachelor's November 2014

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Discuss the film Un Chien Andalou in relation to associated contemporary movements in the fine arts, literature, or theatre.

Back when it was first released, Un Chien Andalou (1929, Luis Bunuel and Salvador Dali) brought with it a sense of renegade and subversion unparalleled in cinema for its time. Considered by many to be the quintessential Surrealist film, Un Chien Andalou inspired a diverse range of emotions and an array of various analyses by its viewers for its revolutionary manner of defiance against the oppressions of the elite. With the philosophy behind its creation rooted deep within the Surrealist art movement, the film provided a visual and ideological experience never before seen in the medium of film. No institution was left unturned by the subversive nature of this films content upon its release: art, politics, religion, morality; all the aspects of society that Surrealism had been tackling in the more traditional mediums of artistic expression were once again challenged, but this time with the ferocity and of the moving image.

With so many lives lost as a result of World War I, artists across the world began to shun conventional values in favour of a more absurdist perspective of the world (Bordwell, 2010: 161-162). Many of the early Surrealists had experienced the devastation of the war first hand, and were no longer prepared to accept the irrationalities inherent to the society that they were living in. Their distrust and anger in a system that had led so many of their kinsmen to slaughter had settled in, and many became eager to display their resentment (Waldberg, 1965: 13). Emerging theories on psychoanalysis by Sigmund Freud influenced the Surrealists to seek solace in the unconscious. As the 'rationality' of the conscious psyche that society conformed to was seen as the cause of...