Earlier this week I posted my review of Criterion’s Blu-ray release of Luis Bunuel‘s here) and seeing how it was the only Bunuel film I’d seen to that point I felt I would beef up my knowledge of the surrealist filmmaker’s work with a couple of his films that are available on Netflix Instant beginning with one of his most recognizable filma and moving to an early, 1929 short, which you can actually watch in its entirety below.
The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie (1972)
If you have Netflix Instant and are at all interested in watching The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie I would recommend you do it now if you don’t want to have to wait for them to send it to you. Last year Criterion’s DVD edition of the film went out of print and I would bet it won’t be on Instant by the end of this year. That said, I found myself mildly entertained by Bunuel’s satirical commentary on the bored lifestyle of the upper crust, especially in a scene where a priest is first seen in gardener’s clothing and shunned from the household only to return in his cassocks and is then warmly received.
I’m happy I watched it merely for reference sake and I would certainly watch it again, but I think I’ll explore more of Bunuel’s work before doing so.
Un Chien Andalou (1929)
Now this short film is a whirlwind nightmare in 16 minutes particularly in its iconic opening moments when Bunuel plays a man who takes a razor to what is presumed to be the eye of a young woman (Simone Mareuil) and slices it open in all its gory detail. As it turns out, what Bunuel cut open was in fact a real eye, but it was a dead calf’s eye, but it nevertheless spills the vitreous humor in graphic detail. Just click play below and be ready at the 1:38 mark.
The rest of the film plays like one dream sequence after another with each scene hardly, if at all, tied to any of the others. This is no surprise considering a quote from Bunuel found in P. Adams Sitney’s book, Visionary film: the American avant-garde in which Bunuel says, “Nothing, in the film, symbolizes anything. The only method of investigation of the symbols would be, perhaps, psychoanalysis.”
At 16 minutes it’s worth a watch if only to say you’ve seen it and to include it as a part of your film conversations in the future. So give it a watch below.
So there you have it. Hopefully you’ll watch Un Chien Andalou just above and add it to your comments below when you tell me what you watched this week.