In 1929, Salvador Dalí (1904 - 1989) worked in Paris with Spanish film director and fellow student Luis Buñuel (1900 - 1983) on a film project so bizarre that it became legendary. It was the first film to deliberately shock the audience.

Report by Karla Ingleton Darocas ( (c)

Dalí composed most of this film and his symbolism is prevalent. Those familiar with Dalí's work will recognise the many metaphors in this film that are unique to Dalí.
Nowadays, we are used to dream-sequences in films and music videos that follow no clear logic and radically deviate from narrative tradition with non-sequential scenes and a lack of plot. Moreover, erotic scenes and nudity are the norm in today's films, but in Catholic Paris in 1929, this film was a scandal.

It was seminal for filmmakers like Alfred Hitchcock and the horror and thriller genre of popular cinema.


The original idea came from a conversation between Buñuel and Dalí about the dreams they had had. Dalí said he had dreamed of a handful of ants, while Buñuel said he had dreamed of the moon covered by a cloud, almost like an eye cut by a blade. From then on, they began to see what other ideas they could pick up from the subconscious.

The creators placed great emphasis on the fact that there should be no rational thought or action. The only rule was that nothing that was in any way symbolic or explainable could be used in the film. In fact, Buñuel said in the 1970s that the film did not want to represent or symbolise anything and therefore any meaning that critics or academics would find would have to be found through psychoanalysis.

This is also the reason why the film does not proceed chronologically, but follows an anti-pattern in which the scenes follow each other without any order. For example, the film begins with a sign that says "Once upon a time...", followed by a sign that says "Eight years later", although the characters do not seem to have changed in any way.

The scenes are full of strange images and mysterious special effects. The most famous scene, however, is undoubtedly the cut in the eye. Shot with strong lighting and the eye of a dead calf or goat, there are many strange scenes. 

At one point in the film, one of the characters grabs a pair of strings and starts pulling a collection of strange objects, including two pianos with dead donkeys, stone tablets with the Ten Commandments and two strange priests (one of them played by Salvador Dalí himself). There are those who claim that the donkeys refer to the work Platero y yo by Juan Ramón Jiménez, whom Buñuel hated as much as Dalí. There were supposed to be other scenes, including one with a couple of corpses covered in flies, but the money ran out, and they had to be cut.


Dalí and Buñuel anticipated a negative reaction from society in the late 1920s, so much so that they filled their pockets with stones in case there was a brawl at the premiere. To his surprise, audiences were fascinated by the film, and it became very popular among his Surrealist friends, so much so that both Dalí and Buñuel were accepted as members of the Surrealist group. Dalí once said that these positive reactions made screenings of the film less exciting, although he also assumed that the short screening time of Un Chien Andalou would be extended to 8 months.

Needless to say, the film takes an extremely sombre tone as both main characters commit suicide in successive years. But it is also for this reason that the film has become a cult film. In fact, Un Chien Andalou is still screened at various festivals around the world. 

The film has also greatly influenced many artists and musicians, including the Pixies. It has become a reference point for the strange and surreal and has therefore been mentioned in many books, films and TV series over the years.

After the success of Un Chien Andalou, Buñuel and Dalí wrote another film together called L'Age D'Or. However, shortly before the production of the tape, a dispute arose between the couple, so the painter did not take part in the production of the tape. This film also attempted to cause controversy as it was a direct attack on the Roman Catholic Church.