Planet of the Andalusian Dog

“God damn you all to hell!”

Yes, I’ve inserted Chuckles Heston (and Linda Harrison as Nova and Henry the Horse) into UN CHIEN ANDALOU. It’s what he would have wanted. And what better fate for an axiom of cinema?

I first saw UN CHIEN ANDALOU at a science fiction convention. It was the first, and for all I know last, such event to be held in Edinburgh. It happened at the Grosvenor Hotel and it was called Ra-Con. The logo was a raccoon. Possibly holding a phaser. Does anybody besides me recall this?

They showed SOYLENT GREEN, with Harry Harrison, author of the original novel Make Room! Make Room! there in person to denounce it. So Charlton Heston and UN CHIEN ANDALOU have long been connected in my mind, I guess. They also showed THE GREEN SLIME, which made less of an impression, although it turned out to be my first Kinji Fukasaku experience, not repeated until I saw BATTLE ROYALE at the Edinburgh Film Festival (and scored a free umbrella like the one Beat Takeshi sports in the film).

UN CHIEN ANDALOU screened as parts of a mind-blowing shorts programme that also included Jiri Trnka’s haunting animated allegory THE HAND, Jan Svankmajer’s BYT (THE FLAT) and something called 23 SKIDOO, which I’ve never seen since.

Ahah, here it is, on the INTERNET –

And like so much of what disturbed my frame of mind as a child, it’s from the National Film Board of┬áCanada. It all makes sense now.

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16 Responses to “Planet of the Andalusian Dog”

  1. Remindful of The World the Flesh and the Devil — but with a much smaller cast.

  2. Remindful that I have a copy of TWTFATD and I’ve still to watch it…

  3. Off-Topic, but. . .

    Beyond Gobsmacked by the film I saw at a sneak preview yesterday afternoon.
    In the Land of Blood and Honey is a stark and truly shocking drama of the Bosnian Civil War of the 1990’s. This was genocide on a massive scale that was rigorously ignored by the west. At one point we hear Clinton’s Secretary of State Madeline Albright saying the U.S. “didn’t have a dog in this fight.”

    UGH!

    What we see here is the story of what happened ot a particular woman, played by an actress I’ve never seen or heard of before — Zana Marjanovic. She is absolutely world-class. So is her leading man Goran Kostic. He plays a Bosnian soldier who in the opening scene is romancing her at a dance. Then a bomb goes off. Months pass and a convoy arrives at our heroine’s apartment block. Everyone is ordered out. All the men are executed. The belongings of all the women are confiscated. Anyone who balks is shot in the head. Several of the women are chosen to be raped (anally of course) in front of their friends. This is all about degredation and humiliation.

    The soldier our heroine knew is now a commander. He discovers she’s been rounded up and takes her aside to use her as his own personal servant. He renews their relationship on a romantic level — which she seems to accept. But what she feels is in this situation beside the point as she’s a prisoner. His father, played by the only name actor in the cast Rade Serbedzija (best recalled as the costume chop owner in Eyes Wide Shut) insists she’s nothing more than a “Muslim Whore” and that his son “should finish with this.” Needless to say it ends badly for all. But that’s not the point of the film. The point is to expose MASS GENOCIDE that was DELIBERATELY IGNORED.

    Kind of like the way way Penn State ignored child rape.

    And now the Big News. This film was written and directed by Angelina Jolie.

    I always knew she had a lot on the ball, especially from what Don Bachardy has told me about her. But never to this extent. The most glamorous woman in the world is As Serious As A Heart Attack. She is a Major Filmmaker at the very start of what I expect will be a long career.

    Not to be missed under any circumstances.

  4. specterman Says:

    Did Harry Harrison denounce Soylent Green ? Well, the whole human food thing wasn’t in the book and they added lots of other things, so I suppose he would understandably feel it wasn’t really his novel being depicted on screen but the fact is they vastly improved upon the novel. The novels a slim and rather uneventful thing whereas the film’s a real marvel.

    Also it’s a quite a bit more plausible, writing in a warming earth as a major factor behind society’s decline (which for the early 70s was pretty astute) and pushing the date back a more realistic 20 years (If I’m remembering right the novel is set in 1999 or thereabouts I think and the film 2020; gives the future at least half a chance to let all these bad things pile up). The novel goes overboard on the overpopulation problem, not sure it ever factors in the climate, as it was written in the mid 60s I suppose not so surprising.

  5. A friend who works for the UN has told me that of all the celebrities who do UN work, Jolie is one who can be depended on to know exactly what she’s talking about, and even answer questions off-script. She’s smart.

    The Bosnian war has been tackled in numerous Serb films, such as Kusturica’s Underground, but I can only think of Michael Winterbottom’s Welcome to Sarajevo as an outsider’s view. It led into the Kosovo war, in which Tony Blair practiced his policy of military intervention without the UN’s support, obviously convincing himself later that this was the right thing to do in Iraq too.

  6. HH liked some aspects of the Soylent Green. He was proud to have had Edward G Robinson’s last screen appearance in it, and he fancied Leigh Taylor-Young and thought Heston even managed to get some acting in. And he dug the opening montage, which is superb.

    But he hated the (spoiler alert!) cannibalism twist and felt the movie lost out by being unable to include an argument for birth control. Such an argument would’ve been hard to include without preachiness, but he felt it would have made the film less despairing.

  7. Kusterica was on the side of the Serbs, against the Muslims.

  8. Kusturica has Bosnian muslim origins, but he converted, so it’s confusing. He got state funding for Underground, but Milosevic hated it. He’s certainly a divisive figure.

    The film doesn’t exactly take sides, preferring to portray the war as collective madness, but that’s not enough for some, who understandably demand more political lucidity from it.

  9. Indeed. It’s far too jolly a depiction of a grotesque tragedy. Comig rougues won’t do for a story involving genocide on a massive scale.

  10. What I liked about Underground was it made me want all the characters to stop killing each other, which seems like a good result for an anti-war film and one you rarely get. Usually you’re rooting for one side to kill the other.

    On the other hand, no rape camps, no genocide, so it was a whitewash of the war. No doubt Kusturica could argue that no movie could capture all that horror anyway, so you have to be selective, but his selections arguably show a bias.

  11. Precisely. Especialy because it’s such a smart, lively and well-made film in every other way.

    I’m also terribly superfond of his Arizona Dream. But who among us couldn’t love a film starring Johnny Depp, Jerry Lewis and Faye Dunaway?

  12. david wingrove Says:

    Even the dreaded Vincent Gallo is bearable in that one!

  13. Arguably Faye’s last great role to date. Gallo’s reenactment of the cropduster routine from North by Northwest is almost enough to allow one to forgive his many other vices.

    I wonder if ANYBODY actually bought his sperm online? Actually, I don’t wonder.

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