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18 DECEMBER 2016

Un Chien Andalou: the surrealist masterpiece restored and corrected

"The film as shown here plays in 'actual time', slowing down the hyper, 16 minutes cut to a more deliberately paced 21+ minutes. The image is less contrast-blown than any version I have seen, not to mention that it is no longer heavily cropped. The score, too, is different, dropping the now iconic tango back-and-forth with Wagner, with just a straight run through the Wagner."

(Blake Williams, 22 February 2011)



1929 • Albert Duverger • black and white • Blake Williams • Fano Messan • film restoration • Filmoteca Espanola • hermaphrodite • influential works • Jaume Miravitlles • Jimmy Berliet • Luis Bunuel • Marval • masterpiecemasterwork • Original Aspect Ratio (OAR) • Pierre Batcheff • Pierre Schild • restorationRobert Hommetsilent cinemasilent filmSimone Mareuilsurrealist cinema • surrealist masterpiece • Un Chien Andalou (1929)


Simon Perkins
29 DECEMBER 2013

Some have always distrusted new things...

"Skepticism is not new to education. Emerging technologies are often viewed with fear and resistance. Just look at some of the history surrounding educational change.

'Students today can't prepare bark to calculate their problems. They depend upon their slates, which are more expensive. What will they do when the slate is dropped and it breaks? They will be unable to write.'–Teachers Conference, 1703

'Students today depend upon paper too much. They don't know how to write on a slate without getting chalk dust all over themselves. They can't clean a slate properly. What will they do when they run out of paper?'–Teachers Association, 1815

'Students today depend upon store–bought ink. They don't know how to make their own. When they run out of ink, they will be unable to write words or cipher until the next trip to the settlement. This is a sad commentary on modern times.'–Rural American Teacher, 1929

'Ballpoint pens will be the ruin of education in our country. Students use these devices and then throw them away! The American virtues of thrift and frugality are being discarded. Business and banks will never allow such expensive luxuries.'–Federated Teacher, 1959"

(Michael Bloom, Professional Associates for Consultation and Training)



1703 • 1815 • 19291959 • authentic practices • authenticity of thingsballpoint pen • bark • chalkconservative attitudesconstantly evolving technological platformcultural understanding of technologydistruste-learning • educational change • emerging technologiesfear of technologyinstrumental conception of technologylearning and teachinglooking backwards to the futureluddite • meaningful learning experiences • mistrust • naive perspectives • no batteries requiredorthodoxypaperparadigm shiftpen and inkpen and paper • resistance to change • resistant behaviourritualskeptical perspectiveskepticismslatestudent learning • teacher professionalism • teachingtechnical skilltechnological advancementstechnology and its impacttechnology as neutraltraditional processtraditional techniques • try out new ideas • unhealthy suspicion • use of technology


Simon Perkins
12 OCTOBER 2011

Man With a Movie Camera: Dziga Vertov's groundbreaking film

"Dziga Vertov's Man With A Movie Camera is considered one of the most innovative and influential films of the silent era. Startlingly modern, this film utilizes a groundbreaking style of rapid editing and incorporates innumerable other cinematic effects to create a work of amazing power and energy. Film pioneer Dziga Vertov uses all the cinematic techniques available at the time – dissolves, split screen, slow motion and freeze frames."

(Moving Image Archive)

Fig.1 Dziga Vertov (1929). 'Man With A Movie Camera', VUFKU (The Ukrainian Photo and Cinema Administration).




1929a film without actorsanimation • backward • Chelovek s kino-apparatom • Cinematic Orchestra • cinematic techniquecity symphonyclose-up • CU • daily lifeday in the lifedocumentary film • double exposure • Dutch angle • Dziga Vertov • ECU • extreme close-up • fast motion • filmfilm directorfilm techniquefootagefreeze framegroundbreakinginfluential worksinventionjump cutMan with a Movie Camera • Mikhail Kaufman • RussianRussian filmmakerself-reflexivity • silent documentary film • silent filmslow motionsplit-screentechniquetracking shot


Simon Perkins
02 OCTOBER 2011

Un Chien Andalou: a masterpiece of surrealist cinema

"Acclaimed as a surrealist masterpiece, Un Chien andalou aggressively disconnects itself from narrative flow. The creators of this short film. Luis Buñuel and Salvador Dalí, fully intended there to be no links between successive scenes. Fortunately this didn't inhibit their dreaming up of some of the most striking moments ever to be projected upon the silver screen. The opening focuses on a man (Luis Buñuel) stropping his cut–throat razor, honing it to a perfect edge. Stepping onto the balcony, he gazes at the moon. This celestial orb is instantly replaced with a woman and, enlarging rapidly, her left eye. The bare blade then descends on her unprotected pupil, a graphic incident.

Designed to shock, which it still does almost 70 years later, quick editing removes the image before it has time to fully sink in. Suddenly the viewer is faced with a nun–like figure weaving uncertainly down the road on a bicycle. There is no bridge to the previous horror, although this mysterious person does provide a number of objects which resurface at odd intervals. Later there is the unusual sight of a man (Robert Hommet) hauling two grand pianos, each stuffed with the putrefying remains of a donkey, as he trudges towards a cowering woman (Simone Mareuil). He is also unfortunate enough to have a hole in his hand, where the ants live. None of this is significant.

A marvellous aspect of something as wilfully bizarre as Un Chien andalou is that almost any interpretation can be drawn from the images shown. Perhaps every single scene is random and unconcerned with any other, although Buñuel certainly seems to have included items which are present throughout the film. In some ways the repeated glimpses of these things in situations where they shouldn't be adds to the confused feel, enhanced by the off–putting and nonsensical time–markers deployed.

The eternal themes of life, death, lust and love are thrown up at various points, although there is no framework on which to attach these emotions. This is of no consequence though as Buñuel has already hurried onto the next sequence, violently cutting so that the desired woman becomes naked in a flash – a picture of what are ardent suitor really sees. Un Chien andalou does not require such deep analysis though, being much more a film which should be purely experienced. It achieves that which Buñuel and Dalí aimed for and, with a live music accompaniment, is unstoppable."

(Damian Cannon, 1997)

Fig.1 Luis Buñuel and Salvador Dalí (1929). 'Un Chien andalou'


1929aggressionAn Andalusian Dog (1929)art film • cut-throat razor • deathdogdreamfilmFreudiangraphic representationinfluential works • interrupted narrative flow • lifeloveLuis BunuellustmasterpiecenakednunRobert HommetSalvador Dalishockingsilent filmSimone Mareuil • slice • slicedSpanish filmspectaclesurrealismsurrealist cinemasurrealist filmssymbolismUn Chien Andalou (1929)violencevisual metaphor


Simon Perkins
09 OCTOBER 2010

Equivalences for written language in visual language?

"The failure of the early surrealist films to communicate the mystery and beauty of life that they sought to express was largely due to an attempt to translate or find equivalences for written language in images or visual language. Artaud alone had an original vision of what cinema should be, but lacked the means to implement it.

––lt is futile to look for an equivalent of written language in visual language –such a translation from one idiom to another is foredoomed to failure. The essence of the visual language should be so presented, and the action should he such that any translation would be out of the question: the visual action should operate on the mind as an immediate intuition'. Antonin Artaud, Preface to 'The Seashell and the Clergyman'."

(Elisabeth H. Lyon)

Elisabeth H. Lyon. "Luis Bunuel: The Process of Dissociation in Three Films," Cinema Journal, Vol. 13, No. 1. (Autumn, 1973), p. 47

Fig.1 Germaine Dulac (1926). 'La Coquille et le Clergyman'



1929An Andalusian Dog (1929) • Antonin Artaud • cinema • equivalence • filmintuitionLuis BunuelPierre BatcheffSalvador Daliseminalsilent filmSimone MareuilSpainspectaclesurrealism • The Seashell and the Clergyman • translationUn Chien Andalou (1929) • visual action • visual communicationvisual depictionvisual languagevisual literacywritten language


Simon Perkins

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