Dery does Buñuel

BB contributor Mark Dery wrote a fascinating rumination on the Spanish surrealist Luis Buñuel, best known for his 1929 short film collaboration with Salvador Dalí, Un Chien Andalou. (Yes, the one with the infamous eyeball-slicing scene, above.) From Dery's essay at Thought Catalog, titled "Thank God I’m An Atheist: Buñuel’s Last Laugh":

Buñuel is a philosopher — a moral philosopher, to be exact, albeit one who makes his case with gleeful, Surrealist savagery, using images dredged from the depths of the unconscious. A sardonic satirist and inveterate practical joker—he once strolled down the boulevard Montparnasse dressed as a nun, complete with false eyelashes and lipstick—he is, at the same time, shadowed by the existential melancholy from which the lapsed Catholic never fully recovers. He loves disguises, and it can’t be mere coincidence that he gets a perverse kick out of passing as a priest. Religion is his abiding theme, there from the first in Un Chien Andalou, in the two priests yoked to the protagonist and dragged unceremoniously across the floor, the dead weight of so much obsolete belief; there at the end in his last movie That Obscure Object of Desire (1977), where the bombing campaign of a gang of absurdist terrorists calling itself the Revolutionary Army of the Infant Jesus is the backdrop to the movie’s May-December romance (itself fairly explosive!).
"Thank God I’m An Atheist: Buñuel’s Last Laugh"



  1. Un Chien Andalou, as far as I can tell, is the result of telling a story full of noir cliche similes and filming every one of them literally. (“A thin cloud slid across the moon [like] a razor across an eye.”) Lazy man’s surrealism, as far as I’m concerned.

    1. 1929. Would you accuse Shakespeare of over-doing it with the cliches also?

       And anyway, speaking practically, one doesn’t realize the seriousness of the work until one has done it for some time. You will have to trust me on this if you don’t know what I am talking about.

Comments are closed.