Notes on Short Film

Lengthy diatribe on brief cinematic experience.

Un Chien Andalou (1929)

with one comment

Luis Bunuel’s collaborative film with surrealist demigod Salvador Dali is one of the classic examples of short filmmakers subverting Hollywood narrative in every way. The eye-slicing opening sequence communicates that one much watch this film with a different eye, and after that, the film does not try very hard to communicate much else. Narrative sequence is ignored, dialogue is ignored, and Bunuel only includes “images that surprise[d]” the filmmakers themselves. Compared to D.W. Griffith, who wanted to explore everything film could do in the realm of imagination to tell a story, Bunuel and Dali sought the most imaginative of images without the goal of storytelling. Whether they’re expressing an emotion, reveling in turmoil, or simply laughing behind a slew of shocking images is irrelevant. This film is still one of the most studied and discussed short films committed to celluloid, and if you’re looking for a bit of analysis much more insightful and comprehensive than mine, might I suggest John Nesbit’s Old School Reviews or Michael Koller’s article on Senses of Cinema?

Koller quotes Oscar Wilde in The Picture of Dorian Gray to emphasize his point, and I think it’s worth reiterating here.

“It is only shallow people who do not judge by appearances. The mystery of the world is the visible, not the invisible.”


Written by Alisa Hathaway

February 25, 2011 at 11:23 am

One Response

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. Very great post. I simply stumbled upon your weblog and wanted to mention that
    I have really loved browsing your weblog posts. After all I’ll be subscribing for your rss feed and I
    am hoping you write once more soon!

    crafty wonderland

    September 2, 2014 at 3:15 pm

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: