Nov 24 Surrealism Cinema
Surrealist cinema (1924-1929)
Surrealist cinema is a modernist film theory lanched in Paris in the 1920s. Related to an earlier tradition of Dada cinema, surrealist cinema is characterised by juxtaposition, the rejection of reality, and a frequent use of shocking imagery.
L’Age d’or began as a second collaboration between Luis Bunuel and Salvador Dali after their first film Un Chien Andalou. After a falling out it was completed by Bunuel. It is a surrealist work that is a scathing attack on bourgeois society and the Roman Catholic Church. The film consists of a series of interlinked vignettes about a couple who are passionately in love, but cannot consummate their passion because they are constantly thwarted by family, the Church, and society in general. There are violent expressive religious scenes and shocking sexual images as well, such as a young woman performing fellatio on the toe of a statue. There are also excerpts of a short science film about a scorpion cut into the film. It is a strange and unique piece of cinema. Bunuel went on to make many extradordinary films usually with a surreal aspect to them. They include Los Olivados (1950), The Exterminating Angel (1962), Belle de jour (1967), The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie (1972), and That Obscure Object of Desire (1977).
L’Afe D’or: violent, absurd images
Un Chien Andalou
Un Chien Andalou is a 1929 silent surrealist short film by the Spanish director Luis Buñuel and artist Salvador Dalí. It was Buñuel’s first film and was initially released in 1929 to a limited showing in Paris, but became popular and ran for eight months.
The film has no plot in the conventional sense of the word. The chronology of the film is disjointed, jumping from the initial “once upon a time” to “eight years later” without the events or characters changing very much. It uses dream logic in narrative flow that can be described in terms of then-popular Freudian free association, presenting a series of tenuously related scenes.
In spite of varying interpretations made since the film originated, Buñuel made clear throughout his writings that, between Dalí and himself, the only rule for the writing of the script was that “no idea or image that might lend itself to a rational explanation of any kind would be accepted.” Moreover, he stated that, “Nothing, in the film, symbolizes anything. The only method of investigation of the symbols would be, perhaps, psychoanalysis.
The aim of Surrealism Cinema: to free individual ideas, let people express themselves freely. it’s a movement of liberty, explore your deep conscious, and reveal your hidden instinct.
Luis Buñuel (1900-1966)
Buñuel calls Un Chien Andalou “a passionate call to murder“
Leaders of the Movement: Guillaume Apollinaire and André Breton
André Breton (French 1896-1966)
- Frottage (wrijven)
- Ecriture antomatique (try to write without thinking, keep the flow, let it go on)
- Collage (turn two different elements into a third totally different thing, a third meaning)
- Cadavre exquis (example: project on the wall, cloud; or two pieces of paper, rub one over the other, then leave some trace on the bottom paper)
Surrealism Cinema Characteristics:
Antinarrative: attracting causality itself, many surrealist films teas us to find a narrative logic that is simple absent.
Dream Logic: causality is as evasive as in a dream, events are juxtaposed for their disturbing effect.
Character psychology is nonexistent.
Favorite themes in Surrealist Films:
- sexual desires
- Bizarre Humor.
Stylistic Characteristics of Surrealism Cinema:
Muse-en-scene: Influenced by surrealist painting
Editing: Amalgam of some Imprssionist devices
(many dissolves and superimposition but without the story to motivate them, such as day dream etc.)
A-moro: doesn’t want to tell story, but still use some devices, continue editing-invisible editing (logic, space, time , rules seems nature), for to hook the viewers, appear nature, but it’s artificial, even looks nature.
The Seashell and the Clergyman (1927)
This bilingual (French-English) box set with a DVD and a book is an indispensable resource not only for researchers and students but also for enthusiasts who want to learn more about the film. It offers the possibility to rediscover Germaine Dulac’s famous film in its restored version while it facilitates comprehension of this avant-garde masterpiece thanks to the perspectives opened up by the various artistic and theoretic contributions of the participants.
In 1929 Surrealist artist Max Ernst published the first of a series of collage novels. It was a kind of comic strip, but not a real comic book, selecting fragments of wood engravings from nineteenth-century magazines, encyclopaedias and trivial novels. Some collages parody famous works of art. The newly forged combinations of scientific instruments and floating figures and of landscapes with unexpected interiors guarantee the odd dream world identified so closely with Surrealism. These scenes were praised in the book’s introduction. This was to be ‘the ideal picture book of this age’, and the future was to leap forth from it. ‘Children’s eyes, wide with awe, that open like butterflies’ wings on the shore of a lake’. The time had now come – according to the introduction – for ‘the first hundred visions of fairies’. These prophetic words came from André Breton, the executuve director of surrealism.