Take a Drink: any time something likely to be in your nightmares appears on screen.
Take a Drink: every time there is a cut up/off body part.
Do a Shot: for Salvador Dalí’s oddly placed cameo when he is dragged across the floor.
Take a Drink: whenever someone has a terrified expression.
By: Reel 127 (Two Beers) –
Un Chien Andalou is about… It honestly is hard to put into words what this film is about. The easy way to describe it is a series of events that jump around chronologically. This gives the film the feeling of experiencing a dream, or a nightmare. This film is one of the few examples available of Salvador Dalí having a hand in film. For those of you who weren’t paying attention in school, Salvador Dalí was a surrealist painter best known for his abstract imagery in his work. He co-wrote the film with the director Luis Buñuel and even had a small role in the film. Un Chien Andalou is a mind-bending experience and feels like something that could only come from a mind like Dalí’s.
Really stunning visuals are what this film is remembered for. There are several points that have constantly appeared through film history, such as the image of a woman having her eye cut open and a man with ants crawling from a hole in his hand. This really makes the film seem like a Salvador Dalí painting has come to life. This was, in a way, the point of movies in the first place, to be moving pictures.
Viewing this movie as a horror film actually makes it better. Rather than trying to build up to a scare which has become all that horror films do, Un Chien Andalou works into much deeper fear. The film immediately shows us scary or gruesome images to let us think about the horror of it longer. Allowing the image to stay in our minds for a long time, haunting us. This film really should be shown more often around Halloween time.
The major downside to this film is that it can be hard to tell what is going on. The film jumps around in time and at some points it is hard to tell if this is surrealist or just completely crazy. The attempt is a visual representation of a dream, but it can be confusing to the audience. There are some notable continuity flaws in the film like a moment when a woman is about to be run over. She is holding a box and in a matter of four cuts the box goes from in her hands, to on the ground, to her hands, to back on the ground again. Something that could have easily fixed by taking out a couple of shots. The characters are oddly developed and we hardly have any understanding of them by the end of the film. This makes it a little hard to truly be engrossed. If this were a feature length film it would have been too much to handle. Fortunately, at its short length these flaws are not too glaring.
Un Chien Andalou has a unique place in film history and it holds up well in that place. It was a great influence on darker elements and ideas in later movies. It even helped influence the early horror genre films, like Nosferatu and The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari had before it. I recommend checking out this movie for the experience, plus it’s only twenty minutes. You can watch an episode of Rick and Morty in the same amount of time.