The New York Times has posted A.O. Scott’s 3-minute look back at the 1929 short film Un Chien Andalou. Scott describes the surrealist classic, a collaboration between painter Salvador Dalí and a very young first-time filmmaker Luis Buñuel, as an “old dog with an endless supply of new tricks.” The short’s procession of seemingly absurd, unconnected images, he adds, does not follow the logic of narrative but rather the “logic of dreams.”
Even though its most famous (or infamous) images — a severed hand, a hand covered with ants, and most finally a hand slicing into a woman’s eyeball with a razor blade — seem less shocking now than they did 80 years ago, Un Chien Andalou is still a pleasure. Our reality has changed since the 20s. Our dreams, less so.
You can watch a brief interview with Buñuel about the process of writing with Dali here. As for the work itself, you can watch it in its entirety, along with L’Âge d’Or, another Buñuel/Dalí production, in our collection of Free Online Movies. But proceed with caution: About 25 years ago, I slipped a copy into the family VCR, expecting a cute cartoon about an Andalusian dog. I’m still recovering.
Sheerly Avni is a San Francisco-based arts and culture writer. Her work has appeared in Salon, LA Weekly, Mother Jones, and many other publications. You can follow her on twitter at @sheerly.