Close Up

8 April 2016: Take Two: Un Chien Andalou / L'Âge d'Or


Un Chien Andalou
Luis Buñuel
1929 | 16 min | B/W | 35mm

"The opening sequence of Buñuel’s first film contains one of the most indelible images, and most primal "cuts", in film history – the chillingly tranquil slicing of an eyeball with a razor blade. From there, Buñuel and collaborator Salvador Dali use a Surrealist version of narrative to thread together sequences involving a heterosexual couple, a disembodied hand and a rotting carcass inside a piano." – Harvard Film Archive

L'Âge d'Or
Luis Buñuel
1930 | 63 min | B/W | 35mm

More than 80 years on, this masterpiece of cinematic surrealism remains as brilliantly witty and shocking as ever. Uniting the genius of Luis Buñuel and Salvador Dali, L'Âge d'Or is a uniquely savage blend of visual poetry and social commentary. A sinister yet poignant chronicle of a couple's struggle to consummate their desire – the film was banned and vilified for many years for its subversive eroticism and furious dissection of 'civilised' values. 

"The final film collaboration between Buñuel and Dali, this remarkable work was banned for years after fascist and anti-Semitic groups staged a stink-bomb and ink-throwing riot in the Paris theater where it was shown. A Surrealist exposé of the social institutions that stifle love, L'Âge d'Or begins with an iconoclastic account of the founding of "Imperial Rome" (and the Catholic Church) upon the rocky shores of a pirate’s cove. A more contemporary tale ensues when Gaston Modot, as a sort of Surrealist "everyman," attempts to liberate himself from every morality: he kicks a dog, strikes a blind man, slaps the mother of his beloved, and flings a burning Christmas tree out a window. The film concludes with its most scandalous sequence, in which a group of depraved men – all of whom bear an uncanny resemblance to Jesus – emerge from the debauchery of 120 Days of Sodom" – Harvard Film Archive