Recently I have been reading about “les années folles” also known as the Golden Years. It refers mostly to 1920’s France and the rise of the Modernism, Surrealism, and Cubism as well as an increase of nihilism and a general return to the principals of the enlightenment. art movement and the avant-garde. The modernist movement never made much sense to me before now, and even now all of the pieces haven’t quite fit together yet. Its strange to me that from the same movement you get Gertrude Stein, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Pablo Picasso, and Salvador Dalí. There was so much going on. Mostly, everyone was trying to resolve the pit in their stomach that came from the end of the first world war. Cut to, Un Chien Andalou.
Un Chien Andalou
The brainchild of two Spanish surrealist artists living in Paris, Salvador Dalí and Luis Buñuel, who both had… interesting artistic styles. Apparently, Buñuel told Dalí about a dream that he had about a cloud cutting through the moon like a blade slicing through an eye. Dalí also had a dream, his of a hand infested with ants. They decided to make a film. They both rejected the idea of a conventional plot, opting for a surrealist piece that aimed to highlight suppressed human emotions.
The 21-minute silent film begins with an unnamed man, played by Buñuel sharpening a razor on a stone. He goes out to a balcony and looks up at the sky. He sees the moon, full, with three clouds approaching it. It then cuts to a woman sitting in a chair, Buñuel standing behind her. Then another cut to the moon, a cloud cutting through it. A last quick cut of the pair and Buñuel slices her eye (it was actually the eye of an animal, but the sequence happens so fast the audience can’t tell the difference). A title card reads “eight years later.”
A man dressed as a nun rides down the street on a bicycle. The woman from the first scene watches from out of the window (both eyes intact). As the man approaches the building she is in, he collapses onto the ground. She rushes down to console him. Back up in the apartment she lays out his clothing on a bed and concentrates on it intently. The man from before appears on the other side of the room staring at his hand, when the woman goes to inspect it she finds that there is a hole in it and it is infested with ants (there is a full description on Wikipedia, but the content is not my focus but I highly recommend reading it before you continue).
I have also been watching Black Mirror on Netflix recently. I think that it is interesting to watch the current state of the world through the eyes of a dystopian reality. What were Dalií and Buñuel trying to say? Yeah, exactly. They have a clear message like it’s on the tip of my tongue. I have yet to get there.
I plan to continue to explore this idea. If anyone has any thoughts, please, do share them.
This video may not be suitable for everyone.