Aprofito un moment d'esbargiment a la feina per penjar el meu darrer treball pel curs de cinemtaografia:
UN CHIEN ANDALOU
The aim of this essay is to show through un chien andalou some features of the surrealist movement. The surrealist manifest was released to public on January 27th 1925 and the film of Buñuel was shot three years later. Although Buñuel and Dali did not belong yet to the surrealist movement, their work was definitely surrealist and they were admitted in the movement some months later. In the first manifesto, Breton acknowledges the debt of his movement to Sigmund Freud. Some of its aims were liberation of the mind and to show the fragility of our standard values and the shifting foundations of our civilization. The last station of this trail had to be revolution and Freud could be seen as the prophet of this Promised Land. Indeed he has defined unconscious, the repressed part of the mind, as the place where lies our own nature (letting us believe that liberation of this repression could be the secret of happiness) and in the twenties his subject was mainly philosophy of culture; works like Das Unbehagen in der Kultur, in which he gave a theoretical basis of the contempt for culture and civilization, reflected in the surrealist proposal.
This book offers the later conception of mind designed by Freud that differs in many ways from the former. Whereas Freud had believed first that there was only a kind of instincts forming the unconscious, concerned with sex, now this monism is replaced by a dualism, in which the sexual instinct, named Eros, is joined to another instinct, Thanatos, the death’s instinct which is the deepest source of violence and aggressiveness.
The surrealism was from its beginnings, for instance in their first manifesto, interested in cinema. This is a well-known fact. They were soon aware of the wide range of possibilities of this new media, which was unusually good to open dreamlike worlds. Indeed, to be in a cinema is like dreaming in some way. But equally interesting to us, they hated and despised novels, a kind of literature that was rubbish to them. The novels, which they were spoken from, were realist novels, like, for instance, those written by Dickens, which were the model chosen by Griffith to articulate cinema’s syntax. But after Griffith, came Eisenstein, which discovered the power of editing, in a way which has not been found out by American movies. Buñuel in his memories remembers how impressed he was by Potemkin. Through editing it was possible to play with time and space, in a more powerful way than any other art, making possible to reflect the structure, the peculiar logic, of human’s dreams.
The theoretical approach from above was required to try to describe why the film of Buñuel was the most representative among these made by surrealists. Un chien andalou is a film built under the influence of both natural unconscious instincts, eros and thanatos, and it reflects specially well not a specific dream, although its origins were Dali´s dream about ants and Buñuel´s dream about the cloud and the moon, but the way in which unconscious works.
We begin with the last question. It is obvious that Buñuel had a more deep understanding about film’s making that any other surrealist author. He has been working in the industry and he had a good knowledge of the most basic cinematographical techniques. Un chien andalou is far away to look like an amatheur’s work, what the other surrealist films were. It is a film shot by a filmmaker, by someone who is able to use the camera to create his own language. Following Eisenstein, Buñuel said once that cutting is the best way and he edited his film playing with the notions of time and space, in order to create a narrative structure, which was completely different the narrative of conventional films. He plays with our notion of time, first through the intertitles, whose goal is to confuse the spectator, but also reversing the logical order of events. We saw first as the woman’s eye is cut but afterwards the woman appears on the screen without any damage. But it is still most interesting how he plays with the conception of space because through this manipulation becomes clear the talent and power of Buñuel as a filmmaker. There are more than one example, but my favourite’s one is when the girl leaves the room and there is a beach and the sea on the other side of the door. I would like to precise, why this short film is so touching. It has been edited as a conventional film, the editing accords with all the conventional rules, which had been already fixed, but breaking the correspondence between these rules and our ordinary understanding of time and space, we are able to penetrate in a world whose stuff is the same from which our dreams are made on.
In class and in the commentary of Robert Short, it has been insisted on the sexual nature of its images. Obviously, un chien andalou, is concerned with sex or, more properly, with sexual frustration and its repression. We saw how the woman is harassed by the main player and the opening scene, with the eye, the razor, the moon and the cloud, has been interpreted as a metaphor of sexual act. But not less obviously the film is concerned also with Thanatos. Not only the instinct which creates life, but also the instinct of destruction, rule the world created by Buñuel. In twenty minutes we see, or believe to see, an eye slashed in a barbaric way, and two deaths: the androgynous dead in a car’s crash and the main character shoot by his doppelgänger. It is worth to remember that Buñuel defined the film as an appeal to murder. This is an interesting point which I would like to treat more deeply.
When Freud was trying to explain the changes between his first model of human mind and the second, he remembered how he found some phenomena, which he was unable to explain with selfish instincts, that, according to his first works, compounded our unconscious. The most characteristic of these was sadism, when sexual pleasure is acquired hurting another and masoquism when sexual pleasure comes from hurting oneself or be damaged by another, which was absolutely in contradiction with unconscious‘s selfishness. In Buñuel’s film sadism is also an important point. Incidentally, he felt great admiration by Sade as a writer. He discovered his works in Paris in the twenties and he was absolutely amazed, according with his memories. Witness of this admiration is his second film, l’âge d’or ,that ends with an homage to the marquis in which he is shown like Christ. Although the marquis´ shadow is not so important in the former film, it is not less powerful.
I would like to finish this essay, talking about a fragment of the film which is an astonishing example of what sadism means: the androgynous´ death. This character is introduced in the street between a crowd that looks at him at the hand, whereas he seems to play, in a very meditative mood, with a cut hand, which lies on the roadway. A constable compels him to put the hand in a box and persuades the people crowded to go away. Now, the boy-girl stays alone in the middle of the street among the cars. The main character is looking at him through the window. The cars are running fast and every time closer to the boy-girl, who seems to be completely paralysed. The man in the window gets more and more excited, while the risk is increasing. In the soundtrack we are hearing, Isolda’s death by Wagner a music whose nature is absolutely sexual, with a rhythm that seems to imitate our body’s rhythm when we are copulating. Finally a car runs the androgynous over, Wagner’s music reaches its peak and Buñuel shows the face of the main character with an expression of absolute satisfaction, just like he was having an orgasm. Afterwards, he will be going to try to have sex with the girl. The connection between violence has sexual pleasure, which is the main characteristic of sadism, has been performed and experiences in a very powerful way.
Etiquetes de comentaris: Buñuel, cine, Dali, Freud