Un Chien Andalou (Luis Bunuel, 1929, France)

It's hard to overstate the influence of Un Chien Andalou. The defining film of the surrealist movement, the film is a cultural touchstone of that art movement but also arthouse cinema more generally. The film launched the career of legendary Spanish director Luis Bunuel and marked his first collaboration with fellow Spanish surrealist Salvador Dali, who would later have a falling out with Bunuel. The film's plot, if one can speak of it, is based totally on dream logic. Even the film's most iconic image, the woman's eye being sliced open (in reality, a sheep's eye) came from a dream.

Following the still shocking opening, the film turns to "8 years later" - where a young man wearing a nun's habit with a box around his neck is riding down the street. The woman from the first sees the man fall off of his bike from the window. The young man then emerges in the woman's room, and another famous shot occurs - the man's hand with ants emerging out of the center of his hand. This oft-imitated shot no doubt served as an influence for the opening scene of David Lynch's Blue Velvet.

The rest of the film involves the pursuit of the man of the young woman, and also contains several iconic shots. Notably, in one scene, the man is dragging two pianos with dead donkeys on them, in addition to two priests - one played by Salvador Dali. The sexual aspects of the film are still surprising. The film was a success upon its release, far from inciting riots. It ended up drawing the attention of the art world, and this is how the follow-up film - L'age D'or was financed. Un Chien Andalou is still one of the defining films of experimental cinema and it lives up to its reputation.



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