18 September 2013
The Inner Machinations of Man
The short film “Un Chien Andalou” was a short film directed by surrealist director Luis Bunuel and surrealist artist Salvador Dali. The film was shot as an experimental film with no intended plot, instead it is shot as a disorienting dream like narrative with no context of the actions taking place. The movie has many disturbing themes represented and instead of following dream like logic, it follows a more nightmare logic to advance the short film. There is no doubt that this film takes place in a nightmare because of the amount of unrealistic events that take place. For instance, when the woman steps out of her apartment and instead of being in the hallway of her building, she is on a rocky beach. Typically in dreams, people move from location to location without any travelling between destinations, thus establishing this film in a dream state. The nightmare logic of the film shows some of the worst subconscious tendencies of the human mind. One example of these tendencies would be the extended “rape” scene when the male character is chasing the female character around the apartment. It is a nightmarish scenario for both characters. For the woman, she’s being chased around what we can assume to be her apartment by a man who is trying to have his way with her. It shows how even in our dreams, our deepest fears can reach us and influence our thinking. Likewise for the man, he got teased by the woman initially but now he is failing to have his way. Not only is the dark side of that character coming out with his desire to rape this woman, but also his fear of failure is stopping him from getting what he wants. This is shown when he is struggling to reach the woman across the room by having the man attached to two men, and two pianos with two dead donkeys on top of the pianos. His fear was holding him back and weighing him down in the most outrageous fashion, as only one’s nightmare could. Furthermore, the dark side of one character is shown when he is being punished in the corner and he decides that he has had enough. The character turns around and suddenly the books he was holding morph into two pistols, further demonstrating the dream aspect of the film, and kills the man who was punishing him. The character’s desire to escape from his punishment brought out his inner evil, just like the other characters showed their dark sides and deep down fears. The actions of the characters in the dream mirrored surrealist ideals of violence and illogical depiction of events, representing the idealism of its directors. Dali and Bunuel showed how they believed people’s innermost subconscious would behave given the correct circumstances, and they did not depict it as a very moral or logical inner being.