Essay On Un Chien Andalou Analysis

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There hardly can be found any art work that has no hidden sense or secret symbolism. The movie called “Un chien andalou” is not an exception. Experts of our website Live Custom Writing that provides academic essay writing service online have prepared for you this essay on “Secret Symbolism In Un Chien Andalou”. This film is considered one of the greatest in the world cinema history. That is why we believe that you should know what it tells about and what hidden message and secret symbolism it maintains.

Nightmare of Buñuel and Dali

People should tell what their nightmares are about so that they never come true. This was one of the first attempts to create a surrealistic movie, because previously cinematography was not going to make films accept those that reflected real world.

Trying to find hidden sense

Why are we trying to find here any hidden sense? Each work of Salvador Dali we just watch enjoying them in general and do not try to figure out what they demonstrate in fact. Probably it happens so because art initially is visual and not verbal. But movie is a phenomenon that we want to analyze and consider each detail separately.

Suddenly there is a horrible picture, a nightmare on the screen with eye cutting, ants that get out of a hand, cut hand and so on. It is believed that Bunuel and Dali tried to recreate a nightmare on the screen or something like that. By the way, if you need additional information on these two great personalities or information on other subject, you can easily order any essay on our online service. And you may not worry about the cost of your order because our prices are affordable for everyone.

Interpretation of dreams is what a mankind is occupied with for all the time of its existence. We guess that both, Buñuel and Dali were very glad that others tried to find new interpretations of their views, because it was hard for them to understand everything on their own. So whether it is worth to look for hidden sense you need to decide by yourself. However, there is no guarantee that creators meant something particular in their film.

“Un chien andalou” film and some facts about the creation process of the most famous surrealistic movie

The most popular and recognizable can be called a moment of the movie, with which it begins. Luis Bunuel sharps razor blade, admires the full moon standing on the balcony and after that takes a razor blade and cuts an eye of a girl who sits in an armchair. The picture of full moon is decorated with a thin lacy cloud that crosses the lunar disk ( Surrealistic pictures change each other. Further there is a scene, in which ants get out of the hole in someone’s hand. After that a torn off hand is demonstrated. Then a man pulls two grand pianos, on which there are partly decomposed dead jacks and priests. People shoot at each other. At the end a woman rolls a severed hand on the pavement. It all sounds pretty impressive and frankly horrible. Team of our custom writing service online advises you to think it over thoroughly whether you really want and whether you are ready to watch such a film.

The beginning of the story

The premiere of the film was in 1929 in Paris. Silent film “Un Chien Andalou” was accompanied by the music of Wagner, as well as tango. There was a gramophone hidden behind the screen.

The story beginning of the film “Un Chien Andalou” can be considered the time when Luis Bunuel used to work as an assistant of director. Director’s name was Jean Epstein and they worked in France. Once having met with Salvador Dali in a restaurant, Bunuel told him that he saw a dream. He dreamt that the moon was easily cut by a cloud. And it reminded him as if a razor blade cuts an eyeball. Dali in his turn told about his own nightmare, in which there was an amputated arm and ants were getting out of it. They both were amazed with what the human psyche can produce and thus planned to write a script. The script base was going to be the conception of suppression of the most primitive human emotions. The fact that they led similar life styles contributed to the script creation a lot. Although, when shooting started, there was a quarrel among Bunuel and Dali. Maybe, it influenced the process of movie creation. Without the quarrel it might have been much richer with images produced by Salvador Dali’s subconscious.

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Nevertheless, the passion of both creators can be seen in the work pretty transparently. It is especially well seen for cultural scientists that purposely study the art of Dali. In particular, a book thrown away by a woman can be noticed on a reproduction painting of Jan Vermeer called “The Lacemaker”. Salvador Dali admired this Dutch painter. And common tendencies can be noticed in the art of Dali and Vermeer.

The script was written just in a week. And it took two weeks for shooting. The most part of time was spent on props and decorations creation. The moment when an eye was cut was shot on the model, in fact. They took an eye of a dead jack. The budget limits influenced greatly the result. For example, there was a scene in a script created by Bunuel. They wanted to shoot a corpse covered by flies. Fortunately or unfortunately, they did not shot such an episode.

Gloomy glory of the film

Probably, one of the most famous facts related to the premiere is full of stones pockets of the Bunuel’s suit. The movie creators used to believe that they would have to protect themselves against the furious spectators. Fortunately, they had nothing to worry about. After the film was presented, Luis and Salvador were widely recognized as surrealists. The movie leading actors added it more gloomy glory. They both died tragically. Pierre Batcheff died of drug overdose from medicine called “veronal” in Paris in a hotel. In Dordogne Simon Mareyl committed self-immolation on the square Périgueux. It happened in 1954, i.e. 22 years later the death of the first actor.

As we have already mentioned, the work was accompanied by Wagner’s music and tango “Ole Guapa”. The soundtrack was recorded in 1960 and the process was entrusted to Luis Bunuel. The soundtracks were changed a little bit and in 1983 there were added special effects, dog howling, but Wagner and tango remained untouchable. In such a way today there are three film versions: silent original film, movie with postscoring (added in 1960) and the version with an alternative postscoring.

The search of hints, hidden sense and attempts to decode symbolism

We should also mention that the movie maintains clear references to the art of Federico Garcia Lorca and two other famous personalities of that time that are often full of evil sarcasm. For example, there is an opinion that putrescent corpses of jacks are a hint at the art work of Juan Ramón Jiménez, with whom Dali and Bunuel used to have conflicts.

After the film release there were a lot of interpretations of its sense. Probably, it amused greatly the creators, although Bunuel and Dali clearly announced that the only rule they used writing their script was the absence of anything that could be rationally explained. After that Bunuel decided to warm up the interest of the audience and added that the only way to study the movie sense was psychoanalysis.

As a result people found so much subtext in “Un Chien Andalou” movie, that the creators themselves probably were not going to put that much meaning in their work.

Initiator of surrealistic style

“Un Chien Andalou” film is called initiator of surrealistic style for modern video clips. According to famous film critic, “Un Chien Andalou” became the mastermind behind a low-budget movie. It is quite strange that the movie was not forbidden, in spite of the fact that there were claims and complaints from dozens of people. The film premiere took the tenth place in a parade of the most shocking moments that have happened in the history of cinema since the time of its creation.

British rock singer David Bowie used the film at each concert of his world tour in 1976. In such a way he warmed up the public. A lot of creative personalities refer to “Un Chien Andalou” film. They mention it if there is a need to explain surrealistic moments in a book, a song or in a movie. The film impact on the world culture is obvious. The film images or stylized film scenes are used in decoration of books and rock albums covering. In the Museum of Fine Arts in Toronto (, there are a few prints that display scenes from the movie. This film served as inspiration for Tom Shadyac and the band Linkin Park. In 2010 “Un Chien Andalou” is mentioned in the top 100 best films of world cinema.

There is no doubt that “Un Chien Andalou” is the most famous surrealistic movie that is made up by Salvador Dali and Luis Bunuel. Initially it was planned as “the desperate and passionate call for murder”. The film got unbelievable success with the public thanks to its special lyricism of images and unique beauty, in spite of the anxiety of these images.

The film is full of special disorientation in time and space and it plunges the viewer into a world of true surrealism. It makes images somehow more realistic and sharp. According to Bunuel, cinema is the best tool for creation of a world of dreams, instincts, fantasy and emotions.

Senseless game of senses

Connection of a man with subconscious is dogma of the surrealists. Charles Baudelaire used to say that an author and his work is the field for senseless and purposeless game of senses, as well as visible and invisible reality.

The movie creators turn human mind upside down, throw at people all the range of passions and secret desires. Anger, lust, pride, indifference, oblivion is everything that people try to hide in their lives, but they can not trick subconscious. Human subconscious is made of accidentally seen things, mass of associations, words, sounds, moves that get inside our memory in passing.

Deeper in the symbolism

After the first scene Bunuel makes an epigraph: “Huit ans après (Eight years later)”. Here is the first symbol, number eight. Eight is a symbol of infinity. What does it mean in the film? Does it mean that people will never change? Anyway, only time has endless power. And time, as another symbol, we can see in the form of a clock that a man shows to his beloved, and then in the form of final ossification.

The film has gathered everything that lies deep in our subconscious and that tries not to appear on the surface. Probably due to this fact in the very end we see festering hand, out of which ants appear. It is obvious now that hand and ants are the symbols of our subconscious and suppressed thoughts and emotions that try to find way out.

What would Freud say?

Since we already know that the movie is an attempt to present a nightmare, let’s see what oneiromancy according to Freud says about the presented images. We are going to consider the brightest and the most famous film images.

1. Razor blade. If you see razor blade in a dream, it is always a hint at quarrels, conflicts that often lead to bid problems. In general, razor blade in a dream is a bad sign.

2. Grand piano. Playing grand piano in a dream means that in real life powerful external stimulus may push you to making love. It may be certain music rhythm, quality of a voice, odor tone, which seems attractive to you.

3. Cloud. A cloud in a dream is a symbol of unreality of your hopes and expectations about your partner, with whom you have broken up. Do not build plans about his / hers return, but start doing something more useful like arranging your personal life.

4. Ants. If you see an ant in your dream, it means that in reality you will meet a thrifty, hard-working and patient person, who will become your friend at once and get interested in you. If you see ants running from you, there is nothing good to expect in the sphere of intimate relationships in the nearest months. A dream, in which you get small ant bites, is a sign of mental disorders and nervous feelings.

5. Donkey (jack). A donkey in a dream is a sign that you will meet obstacles on the way to your goal, and you may also meet a stubborn person who will bring you many troubles. It may also mean unpleasant or offending for you gossip. Dead donkey is a sign of your faults and immoral behavior.

So now you know what meaning movie images may have. However, no one can tell whether the film creators put the same meaning in their work. So it is up to you to decide what you want to believe in and what you want to see in the picture. Maybe you even have your own vision. As the saying goes: “Many man, many minds”. The only thing we want to believe is that you have enjoyed reading our essay.

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Luis Bunuel said that if he were told he had 20 years to live and was asked how he wanted to live them, his reply would be: "Give me two hours a day of activity, and I'll take the other 22 in dreams -- provided I can remember them." Dreams were the nourishment of his films, and from his earliest days as a surrealist in Paris to his triumphs in his late 70s, dream logic was always likely to interrupt the realism of his films. That freedom gave them a quality so distinctive that, like those of Alfred Hitchcock and Federico Fellini, they could be identified almost immediately.


His first film, written in collaboration with the notorious surrealist artist Salvador Dali, was "Un Chien Andalou" (1928). Neither the title ("an Andalusian dog") nor anything else in the film was intended to make sense. It remains the most famous short film ever made, and anyone halfway interested in the cinema sees it sooner or later, usually several times.

It was made in the hope of administering a revolutionary shock to society. "For the first time in the history of the cinema," wrote the critic Ado Kyrou, "a director tries not to please but rather to alienate nearly all potential spectators." That was then, this is now. Today, its techniques have been so thoroughly absorbed even in the mainstream that its shock value is diluted--except for that famous shot of the slicing of the eyeball, or perhaps the shot of the man dragging the grand piano that has the priests and the dead donkeys on top of it. . . .

It is useful to remember that "Un Chien Andalou" was made not by the Bunuel and Dali that we see as crumbling old men in photographs, but by headstrong young men in their 20s, intoxicated by the freedom of Paris during the decade of the Lost Generation. There is a buried connection between the surrealists and the Sex Pistols, Bunuel and David Lynch, Dali and Damien Hirst (the artist who exhibited half a lamb in a cube of plastic). "Although the surrealists didn't consider themselves terrorists," Bunuel wrote in his autobiography, "they were constantly fighting a society they despised. Their principal weapon wasn't guns, of course; it was scandal."

The scandal of "Un Chien Andalou" has become one of the legends of the surrealists. At the first screening, Bunuel claimed, he stood behind the screen with his pockets filled with stones, "to throw at the audience in case of disaster." Others do not remember the stones, but Bunuel's memories were sometimes a vivid rewrite of life. When he and his friends first saw Sergei Eisenstein's revolutionary Soviet film "Battleship Potemkin," he claimed, they left the theater and immediately began tearing up the street stones to build barricades. True?


"Un Chien Andalou" was one of the first handmade films--movies made by their creators on a shoestring budget, without studio financing. It is an ancestor of the works of John Cassavetes and today's independent digital movies. Bunuel (1900-1983), a Spaniard lured to Paris by vague dreams of becoming an artist, found employment in the film industry, learned on the job, was fired for insulting the great director Abel Gance and drifted into the orbit of the surrealists.

He went to spend a few days at the house of Dali, a fellow Spaniard, and told him of a dream he'd had, in which a cloud sliced the moon in half, "like a razor blade slicing through an eye." Dali countered with his own dream about a hand crawling with ants. "And what if we started right there and made a film?" he asked Bunuel, and they did. They wrote the screenplay together, and Bunuel directed, taking only a few days and borrowing the budget from his mother.

In collaborating on the scenario, their method was to toss shocking images or events at one another. Both had to agree before a shot was included in the film. "No idea or image that might lend itself to a rational explanation of any kind would be accepted," Bunuel remembered. "We had to open all doors to the irrational and keep only those images that surprised us, without trying to explain why."

The image of the moon was followed by the image of a man with a razor (Bunuel) slicing a woman's eye (actually a calf's eye--although legend has transformed it into a pig). The hand crawling with ants was followed by a transvestite on a bicycle, a hairy armpit, a severed hand on the sidewalk, a stick poking the hand, a silent-movie style sexual assault, a woman protecting herself with a tennis racket, the would-be rapist pulling the piano with its bizarre load, two apparently living statues in sand from the torso up, and so on. To describe the movie is simply to list its shots, since there is no story line to link them.

And yet we try to link them nevertheless. Countless analysts have applied Freudian, Marxist, and Jungian formulas to the film. Bunuel laughed at them all. Still, to look at the film is to learn how thoroughly we have been taught by other films to find meaning even when it isn't there.

Bunuel told an actress to look out the window at "anything -- a military parade, perhaps." In fact, the next shot shows the transvestite falling dead off the bicycle. We naturally assume the actress is looking at the body on the sidewalk. It is alien to everything we know about the movies to conclude that the window shot and the sidewalk shot simply happen to follow one another without any connection. In the same way, we assume that the man pulls the pianos (with the priests, dead donkeys, etc) across the room because his sexual advance has been rebuffed by the woman with the tennis racket. But Bunuel might argue the events have no connection -- the man's advance is rejected, and then, in an absolutely unrelated action, he picks up the ropes and starts to pull the pianos.


While looking at "Un Chien Andalou," it is useful to look with equal attention at ourselves as we watch the movie. We assume it is the "story" of the people in the film -- these men, these women, these events. But what if the people are not protagonists but merely models -- simply actors hired to represent people performing certain actions? We know that the car at the auto show does not belong to (and was not designed or built by) the model in the bathing suit who points to it. Bunuel might argue that his actors have a similar relationship to the events surrounding them.

Luis Bunuel (1900-1983) made another surrealist film, "L'Age d'Or" (1930), which was accused of sacrilege and suppressed for many years. He was a journeyman for MGM at one point, supervising the Spanish-language versions of Hollywood movies. He made many movies in Mexico, some of them, like "The Young and the Damned" and "The Criminal Life of Archibaldo de la Cruz" highly valued. At 61 he had a worldwide hit with "Viridiana." with its shocking scene modeled on the Last Supper, and for the next 17 years, a period of inspired productivity, produced one astonishing film after another, such as "The Exterminating Angel," "Diary of a Chambermaid," "Belle de Jour," "That Obscure Object of Desire," "The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoise," "Tristana" and "The Phantom of Liberty."

"Un Chien Andalou" is a curtain-raiser: In a way, he was never unfaithful to it. A movie like this is a tonic. It assaults old and unconscious habits of moviegoing. It is disturbing, frustrating, maddening. It seems without purpose (and yet how much purpose, really, is there in seeing most of the movies we attend?). There is wry humor in it, and a cheerful willingness to offend. Most members of today's audiences are not offended, and maybe that means the surrealists won their revolution: They demonstrated that art (and life) need not follow obediently within narrow restrictions that have been decreed since time immemorial. And that in a film that is alive and not mummified by convention, you never know what you might see when you look out the window.


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