Luis Buñuel directed 34 films and made surrealism fun! People consider his film style and concepts groundbreaking and inspirational. He made Belle de Jour and The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie, which I really like. I just watched Un Chien Andalou. I’m not sure how much absinthe he and Salvador Dali did, but they clearly saw things others don’t. Often that characteristic makes art that transcends time. In this case, it made an incomprehensible combination of odd images that combined to make fifteen minutes I’ll never get back. Ants crawl out of the hole in a man’s hand. A beautiful, androgynous woman in the street pokes a severed hand with a stick. A man watches as the woman, who has put the hand in a locked box around her neck, stands still as cars whiz by her. The last car has better aim and runs her over. That makes him want to fondle the breasts of the woman next to him who takes issue with that and tries to evade him. After a while he begins to drag two grand pianos each filled with half a dead horse across the room. Soon pilgrims appear. It goes on from there. I have no idea what the film symbolized or if it symbolized anything other than Buñuel’s desire to film some weird ass stuff. The sequence everyone knows with the razor and the eye serves as the jumping off point for one of the strangest films I’ve seen. I’m not exactly sorry I saw it because now I can cross it off my list. That’s about it. Thanks for coming. Please enjoy a hot towel.
The assignment: Find twelve films I haven’t seen that leave a gaping hole in my study/love/knowledge of film. Simple, right? After all, I have a list on letterboxd with close to 200 films I want to see. I think this is a different list though. As I grew up in the United States and in the suburbs, I watched a lot of American and some British films on TV. I don’t have stories of walking to the theatre every Saturday or having an art house down the street. Going to the movies meant conning someone’s mother into driving a gang of us to the nearest theatre where we’d see something new. I have seen some foreign and a lot of cult films, but I never studied film formally so I know I’ve missed a bunch. I did see Monty Python and the Holy Grail and Polyester at plain old suburban theatres so chalk those up for the suburbs. I still remember my dad’s taking me to a Kenmore Square revival house to see Blow Up when I was twelve. We talked about it all the way to our bleacher seats at Fenway which we bought, day of, for $2.50. I digress. Here’s my list of shame. They’re in no order so I’m not sure when I’ll watch what. Plus, I have thirteen because Un Chien Andalou is only fifteen minutes long. Here goes nuthin’.
Yojimbo Bicycle Thieves Get Carter (yes, the original) Rashomon
The 400 Blows Un Chien Andalou
La Dolce Vita Bob Le Flambeur
Withnail & I
I managed to find most of these on Netflix, You Tube, and my local library, but if one eludes me, I’ll switch it out for The Killing of a Chinese Bookie.