Surrealism as A Critique of Modern Science and Technology – Un Chien Andalou (An Andalusian Dog) 1928

Posted: April 7, 2019 in Uncategorized

See the complete film below. Read about Descartes’ Optics (1637) by clicking the link behind my photochopped juxtaposition.



  1. Colin Hancock says:

    Simply awesome.

    I just got the chance to watch it this afternoon and it was just what I pictured. I noticed a trend while I watched: I kept asking myself high-school-style questions like,”what does the severed hand represent?” and, “why does the film cover such weird time spans?” It was really hard to simply ignore these questions and enjoy the Surrealism for its imagery. What I decided was that, while Luis Buñuel may have intended certain meanings and wished to convey certain plots, that was relatively irrelevant to the purpose of the style.

    If I’m understanding this right, Surrealism is supposed to evoke supernatural, mythical, and magical feelings and thoughts. As a reaction to pure rationalism, Surrealism aims to bring back the feeling of not knowing the nature of the world. Surrealists depict things to make us feel like we are experiencing unexplainable rituals and magical events. I’ve always enjoyed Surrealist imagery for this very reason, and I hope that it is the intended outcome of these artists’ work!

    • Glad you took a moment to explore these materials. Surrealism is an artistic moment dedicated to reversing the demystification and predictability of the modern world, in which all objects and events have been rationalized by physical and statistical science. Surrealism seeks to undo the work of science, which has repressed the ‘magic’ of human experience, through three modes of shocking it’s audience out of, or back to it’s sense – the marvelous, the uncanny, and ‘convulsive beauty’. These are generally achieved either through outrageous juxtaposition or the surprise insertion of a bizarre object into everyday situations. The amputated hand in the film certainly functions that way, and the shockingly beautiful and androgenous blind person poking at it with a stick enhances the effect. In keeping with my reference to Buñuel’s use if Descartes’s ‘Optics’, it’s interesting to note that this image of the blind person seeing with sticks (as an example of how sight works) is lifted straight from that early scientific treatise. Buñuel, in putting the ‘flesh back on the bone of science’, reveals the weird underbelly of modern rational life, restores its liberating shock value.

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