1997 Paradise Pisces
Spanish Filmmaker"one of the purest examples of Surrealist cinema." (P. Adams Sitney)
A man. A woman. A knife. An eye. A moon. A cloud.
The man slices open the woman's eye as a cloud slices across the moon.
Describing this opening scene in words, of course, cannot do justice to its visual ferocity. More than one viewer has stood up and departed the theater after this visual assault.
Luis Bunuel, in collaboration with the painter Salvador Dali made Un Chien Andalou in 1928. The film has been hailed as
The opening scene described above is a classic of film history. Its meaning has been discussed, dissected and even desiccated in the halls of academe by well meaning but tired film sophists."the irrational, the irreverent, the unexpected, and the non-sequitur."
While Bunuel has claimed that the film has no meaning, he is surely being wry. Infused with Freudian metaphors, there is an obvious dream-like quality to the film which appears to be a series of disconnected, vaguely related events. As one movie reviewer has written, the domain ofUn Chien Andalou is
Bunuel made over 30 films between 1928 and 1977, most of them in Mexico (and none of them in Hollywood). Between 1932 and 1947, he made no films due to the political climate which was not supportive of individualistic and critical visions. During this dry period he worked in a variety of film-related jobs such as dubbing American films into French and Spanish. In 1947 he was brought to Mexico by Oscar Dancigers a film producer. After making two films for Dancigers, the producer suggested Bunuel make a film about the abject poverty of Mexico and its effect on the country's youth."the last dream is one of autofellatio, in which I can suck my own member. My cock must be very small in the dream, because it fits perfectly in my mouth. But I get no pleasure from it. It's stupid, I don't like any part of it. "What luck," I say, "to be able to blow myself, right?" But no, nothing. "
The result was the powerful Los Olvidados made in 1950. Using a documentary-style of filmmaking, the film depicts a gang of young boys from the Mexico City slums. It is an unsympathetic, unsentimental, and brutal statement about the deep social and moral corruption brought about by poverty. Despite the hostile reception the film received at its Mexican premiere, Bunuel won the 1951 Cannes Film Festival's best director award for the film.
But even a visionary like Bunuel must deal with the doubt their visions engender. In an interview, Bunuel has related a dream he had five or six times in which he is performing autofellatio:
The filmmaker seems to be wondering whether or not his art is anything more than self-indulgence, yes? And, yes, we can say that it surely is more. But such dream analysis can be a very slippery affair.
Bunuel is a rookie
Luis Bunuel- Cosmic Baseball Player Plate
Published: October 30, 1996
© 1996, 1997 by the Cosmic Baseball Association