Monday, October 19, 2009

The Biggest Shock from the earliest film

Viewing Luis Buñuel's "Un Chien Andalou" (1929) and "L'Age D'Or" (1930) was the point where I realized that "The Book" was going to take me on a wild ride.  I had actually found full versions on line, that since are not as easily findable. Buñuel used the camera, subject and film like a paintbrush, model and canvas creating one of the earliest WTF moment.  It's length alone makes it susceptible to multiple viewing in an attempt to interpret some kind of meaning.  Good luck with that, though I have seen it several times, since I first opened the book, I am no closer to a full understanding.  First off, I have no idea what this movie has to do with an Andalousian Dog. Collaboration with Salvador Dali is apparent.  The King of Surrealism's influence can be seen in the focus on ants and the rotting carcass just as his actual physical presence can be seen as one of the monks being dragged with the piano. "The Age of Gold"  though longer is no less enigmatic as many chapters seem to focus on a couple unable to comsummate their love, being constantly interrupted by pressure from family, society and the church.

Las Hurdes or Land Without Bread (1932) is an early documentary (though some consider it a parody) showing an area of Spain that has seen little or no progress who's sole livelihood is a locally made honey too bitter to be enjoyable. Abandoned by the Catholic Church, the inhabitants of the area are left to survive as best they can, with little help from a government that cares little for the region.  As a political message, this film was effective enough to be banned in it's country of origin.  As a cautionary tale it is at least interesting as a snapshot of a point in time for a certain area devoid of education and a caring influence, but as entertainment, it leaves a lot to be desired.   

This is only the beginning of an introduction to the work of Luis Buñuel.

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