“A movie like this is a tonic. It assaults old and unconscious habits of moviegoing…. the inspiration for low budget independent films.” - Roger Ebert
If you are a self-respecting movie lover of any variety, you simply must invest the 16 minutes it takes to absorb Un Chein Andalou.
In 1929 Luis Buñuel and Salvador Dali were comparing notes on their recent dreams. Buñuel had a dream about a cloud slicing the moon like a razor against an eyeball; Dali’s dream was about a hand covered in ants. Within a few days a script was finished initiated by these two visual concepts.
According to Bunuel, when they were quickly writing, he and Dali adhered to a simple rule: “Do not dwell on what required purely rational, psychological or cultural explanations. Open the way to the irrational. It was accepted only that which struck us, regardless of the meaning … We did not have a single argument. A week of impeccable understanding. One, say, said: “A man drags double bass.” “No,” the other objected. And the objection was immediately accepted as completely justified. But when the proposal of one liked the other, it seemed to us magnificent, indisputable and immediately introduced into the script.”
Script in hand, Bunuel convinced his mom to finance the film and shot it shot in 10 days. Their surrealist take on the romance trope was intended to shock and upset the intellectual bourgeoisie of Paris. Buñuel was so worried about the response at the premiere, a premiere packed with intellectual bourgeoisie, that he stuffed his pockets with rocks to throw at angry patrons if things got out of hand. But the audience loved the film, a reaction that upset and disappointed his partner in crime Salvador Dali.
The film stands strong today as a truly visionary and influential work, a film that has inspired filmmakers for now nearly 100 years. Enjoy!