Un chien andalou (1929)
Audio Commentary-by Michael Koller, film writer & Cinemateque curator, Melb.
Featurette-The Definitive Dali (1986) - Documentary on the life of Dali
Featurette-Las Hurdes (1933) - Documentary by Luis Bunuel
Featurette-A Propósito De Buñuel (2000) -Biographical feature on Bunuel
Trailer-Various Umbrella Trailers (Four trailers on each disc)
|Year Of Production||1929|
|RSDL / Flipper||
Dual Disc Set
|Cast & Crew|
|Start Up||Ads Then Menu|
|Region Coding||4||Directed By||Luis Buñuel|
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||Full Frame||
English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono (224Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 mono (192Kb/s)
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||None|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.33:1||Miscellaneous|
|Subtitles||English (Burned In)||Smoking||Yes|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
Where does one start with this film? Un Chien Andalou is so unique in the context of the history of World Cinema, that many, many essays have been written in the vain attempt to interpret its narrative and categorise it as a film. I would humbly add, to the great writings of what has been said before, from many more learned film and cultural scholars, that Un Chien Andalou has no plot or narrative, and it's not simply a surrealist film, it's more than that. The key to appreciating it lies in the body of work that Luis Bunuel has filmed from this effort, his first feature film in 1929, to his last film that he made in 1977, That Obscure Object of Desire.
The premise for the ideas from the film comes from two dreams, one by Luis Bunuel and one by Salvador Dali. Bunuel's dream involved an image of the Moon been sliced by a cloud in half "like a razor slicing through an eye" while Dali's dream was a vision of ants coming out of the palm of a hand. Luis Bunuel and Salvador Dali met at 'The Students' Residence' in Madrid, an Arts college that produced many of Spain's finest artists and writers during the early 20th century. Here they formed a friendship together with Federico García Lorca, a poet who admired Dali. Lorca had issues with his sexual orientation, and was possibly infatuated with Dali. Dali himself was most probably asexual until he met Gala Eduard, who left her husband to eventually marry Dali. The title An Andalusian Dog (or Un Chien Andalou in French) has been commonly referred to as a name for the film derived from a movement or collection of poetry in Spain during the 1920s. I would hypothesise to go further and suggest that Un Chien Andalou is a reference to Federico Garcia Lorca himself. Lorca saw the film as an attack upon his ideals and his work. While this has been denied from a few references, I would say that there is some truth in it. This sixteen minute film was made as an ode to the Surrealism movement in France in the late 1920s/early 1930s, but it's other influence was the comedies of American Cinema at the time, so the film should be seen as an irreverent criticism against common culture, specifically religion and it's role in inhibiting sexual desire, the development of the role of women in their relationships with men,(both Bunuel and Dali were noted misogynists) and the influence of the bourgeoisie class in society. If we take this one step further, both Bunuel and Dali came from regions from the north of Spain, whereas Lorca came from Andalusia in the south which was historically the point of entry for all the ethnic, corrupt influences upon Spain, including the Romans, Vandals and Muslims. So for this reason it is understandable why Lorca took the title and contents of the film as a personal criticism.
Another point of contention is the role of Salvador Dali in the creative process of the film. It is mentioned in the DVD extras that Dali contributed little to the film. I believe he contributed to the script and the soundtrack (Richard Wagner's music was a personal favourite of Dali's whereas Bunuel would go on to eschew non-diegetic music in his films beyond the silent era), but not the filmmaking. Bunuel raised the money to make the film from his mother, and the ideas in the film, namely the criticism of the role of the Catholic Church and the bourgeoisie class in society and its relation to sexuality, were themes that Bunuel would use in practically all his movies, especially during his French period when he made his best and most memorable films from 1964 until his retirement in 1977. (Although one should also include his Mexican period films, Los Olvidados and The Exterminating Angel, as well as his only film made in Spain during the Franco Fascist era, Viridiana)
Un Chien Andalou was made in France, and following his 1933 documentary, Las Hurdes, Bunuel fled to America because he could see that he had no future if General Franco's military regime took over Spain, which they did after civil war ended in 1939. Salvador Dali remained during this time, not attracting any attention to himself because he had labeled himself "apolitical", but Lorca was not so lucky, murdered in 1936 by Franco's Nationalists.
This film was made in 1929, so please be mindful of the video quality as that would not be the reason for acquiring this DVD.
The aspect ratio of Un Chien Andalou is slightly less than a standard full frame transfer, just under 1:29:1
Macro blocking, low level noise (caused by the film been shot on low quality film stock) and aliasing is evident during camera pans.
Un Chien Andalou was shot in black-and-white, and since the production was cheap the film was overexposed, this can be seen on outdoor location scenes.
MPEG Artefacts are noticeable at 0:40, 1:52, 2:21, 2:28, 2:34, 2:49, 4:04, 5:48, 6:51, 8:52, 9:02, 9:19, 11:58, 13:08, 13:29, 14:19, 14:46, 15:05, 15:16, 15:39 and 15:47. There are also some instances of telecine wobble.
The film is silent so title cards were originally in French, however this transfer has titles that have been translated into English. The opening credits have burnt-in subtitles in English.
There is no RSDL change on this DVD as both discs are have transfers presented on a single layer.
The film was first played in 1929 with a live recording accompaniment. This featured a recording from Richard Wagner's opera Tristan und Isolde and an Argentinian tango. The soundtrack heard on this version of Un Chien Andalou was added in 1960 under Luis Bunuel's supervision.
There are two audio tracks. The first is the main soundtrack which is Dolby Digital 2.0 encoded at 224kbps. The second track is an audio commentary soundtrack which is Dolby Digital 2.0 also, encoded at 192 kbps.
The main soundtrack has slight hiss and crackle throughout, the audio drops out at 8:12, 9:07, 9:11 and 15:24.
Music consists of the two aforementioned recordings, Wagner's Tristan und Isolde musical motif and the two tangos.
There is no surround channel usage.
The Subwoofer is not utilised either.
|Surround Channel Use|
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
Un Chien Andalou has been released in Region 1 in The USA and Region 2 in France and The United Kingdom.
The Region 1 US version contains the following:
An audio commentary by Stephen Barber, A Slice of Buñuel documentary (16:10),Epilogue: Dali & Buñuel Interview (with Buñuel's son) (4:40).
The Region 2 French version contains the following:
A Mirror Film interview with journalist Philippe Rouyer (18:38), Surrealism documentary (17:46), I Don't Define Myself clip from Cinéastes de notre temps TV show (5:00), Dali and Buñuel (9:40), Interview with Juan-Luis Buñuel (11:00), Between Rupture and Repair interview with Jean-Claude Carrière (12:04). Note that all these extras are in French with no English subtitles.
The Region 2 UK version contains the following:
An audio commentary by Robert Short, A Proposito De Bunuel documentary with optional English subtitles (99:15), Introduction by Robert Short with optional English subtitles (25:20). This release includes subtitles for the main feature and the commentary. It is also part of a dual DVD release with Bunuel's 1930 film, L'Age d'or.
In summary, the Region 4 release is a quality release that should easily suffice the appetite of cineastes with a love for World Cinema history, however, the region 2 UK release, in a set with L'Age d'or has similar extras to the region 4 release and is highly recommended also.
If you haven't bought this DVD yet, do so now. It has a wealth of extras (especially Michael Koller's informative commentary and the documentary on Luis Bunuel that goes for over 90 minutes) that easily appeases the senses. Un Chien Andalou is an important part of cinematic history, David Lynch's Eraserhead, Terry Gilliam's Brazil or the films of Monty Python wouldn't have been made without its influence. Congratulations are in order for the Australian distributor, Umbrella for making this release possible in region 4 and for producing a great product, highly recommended for Region 4 DVD collectors.
|DVD||Sony BDP-S550 (Firmware updated Version 019), using HDMI output|
|Display||Samsung LA46A650 46 Inch LCD TV Series 6 FullHD 1080P 100Hz. Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Sony STR-K1000P. Calibrated with THX Optimizer.|
|Speakers||Sony 6.2 Surround (Left, Front, Right, Surround Left, Surround Back, Surround Right, 2 subwoofers)|