5 Essential Experimental Films

4. Un Chien Andalou

3 I can€™t say that I€™ve been an adherent Luis Buñuel fan; aside from €œLos Olvidados€ (1950) and €œNazarín€ (1959)€”maybe €œViridiana€ (1961) if it weren€™t so hamstrung in its depiction of traditional religious values€”I€™ve always seen Bunuel€™s films as being unnecessarily egotistic. Take the recurring scene in €œThe Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie,€ where six people walk silently and purposefully on a long, isolated country road towards a mysterious destination. Even with these reservations, and despite the fact that Buñuel€™s debut film is clearly his most ostentatious, €œUn Chien Andalou€ had a radical effect on cinema, when it was released, in 1929. It was made in the hope of administering a revolutionary shock to society. €œFor the first time in the history of the cinema,€ wrote the critic Ado Kyrou, €œa 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. . . . From a surrealist perspective€”that is, an art movement that aimed to €œresolve the previously contradictory conditions of dream and reality€€”the movie couldn't have been better.

Godard and Bresson > Spielberg and Tarantino