Considering his flair for the theatrical and hisÂ love of the strange and unusual, it’s no wonder that many Goths tend toÂ have a fondness for the artwork of Salvador Dali. Probably the most well-known member of the Surrealist movement, Dali’s works portrayed a sort of melting of reality; everything depicted was vivid and realistic, yet at the same time seemed to belong more to the world of dreams than to our waking world.
Aside from his paintings, Dali also dabbled in many other art forms. These included a short film he made with director Luis Bunuel: “Un Chien Andalou”. I felt it was the perfect sort of film to review on this site: it’s dark, and in some parts slightly unsettling, but beautiful at the same time. While it wasn’t very well-received at the time of its release, it has since become a classic, if slightly infamous,Â art house film.
“Un Chien Andalou” isn’t the easiest film to describe, thanks to its surreal nature. At first glance, this film appears to be just a random assortment of weirdness and bizarre occurrences, but if you pay more attention to it, there does seem to be some sort of narrative behind it, albeit a rather dreamlike and distorted one. It leaves itself very much open to the viewer’s own interpretation, which I love; it’s really quite fun to come up with your own interpretations as to what it all means.
For me, this is the sort of film that is best interpreted emotionally. It’s a very atmospheric work, and I’d recommend just losing yourself in all of its wonderful strangeness. I wasn’t bothered too much by not fully understanding the story behind it, because it still managed to arouse all sorts of feelings inside of me. I didn’t quite understand these feelings- they were just as much a mystery to me as the film itself -but that’s justÂ what made them so incredible to experience. If a film, or any other work of art, is capable of doing that, then I feel that it has definitely succeeded.
Aesthetically, “Un Chien Andalou” is breath-taking. Most people are probably familiar with that shudder-worthy first scene, where something very unpleasant indeed (I’m not saying what)Â happens to a lady’s eyeballs. It could easily have fit into a modern-day slasher movie, but the scene is filmed so elegantly and calmlyÂ that Dali and Bunuel actually manage to turn something so gruesome into something that’s actually kind of pretty. Probably my favorite part of the whole film is an eerieÂ shot of a thin cloud passing by the full moon,Â hinting to the viewer at what they are just about to witness. And of course, the film is filled from start to finish with many other weird and wonderful images, made all the more bizarre by the fact that the whole thingÂ appears to be unfolding in aÂ real life setting. The film gets increasingly more dreamlike as it progresses, however- something which aided by its slow, meditative pacing.
Probably the only thing I disliked about the movie was its soundtrack. Not that it was bad or anything- it just didn’t seem to go that well with the film, and so ended up creating a bit of a dissonance between the music and the visuals. However, it seems that many artists have done their own soundtrack to the film, some of which you can find on Youtube- I highly recommend Nash the Slash’s composition.
In all, I really enjoyed this film. It’s pretty short, so don’t be too put off by it. Just relax, and allow yourself to be immersed in its weirdness. I’d highly recommend it, especially to fans of such movies as “The Cabinet of Doctor Caligari”, “La Femme Qui Se Poudre”, “Donnie Darko” and those of David Lynch. Imaginative, creative, original, and oddly touching,Â I doÂ believe it deserves a rating: