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Discuss the role of symbolism in Un Chien andalou.

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  • Essay length: 3454 words
  • Submitted: 16/02/2003
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University Degree Film Studies

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Discuss the role of symbolism in Un Chien andalou.

Jean Goudal writing in 1925 expressed the view that the cinematic experience (medium, message and location) was the 'ideal means for the realization of surreality, of the marvellous' stressing its potential for the recreation of dream:

'The cinema [....] constitutes a conscious hallucination, and utilizes this fusion of dream and consciousness which Surrealism would like to see realized in the literary domain [....]. They should lose no time in imbuing their productions with the three essential characteristics of dream; the visual, the illogical, the pervasive.'1

It was another four years before Salvador Dalí and Luis Buñuel worked together on Un Chien andalou (1929), a short (seventeen minutes) silent film, that is considered by critics (e.g. Rudolf Kuenzli2) to be one of only two or three truly Surrealist films produced (along with L'Age d'or (1930) and possibly Man Ray's L'etoile de mer (1928) or Antonin Artaud's and Germaine Dulac's La Coquille et le clergyman (1928).) The genesis of the film can be found in Dalí's writings in the Catalan avant-garde literary review L'Amic de les Arts, specifically La fotografia, pura creació de l'esperit (September 1927) and Film-arte, fil

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