Research for my own surrealist inspired film

ENTR’ACTE | René Clair (1924)

In this shot many layers of the original film overlap then move apart, this is a simple effect that i may be able to acheive and use in my own video.

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video of eyes moving could be overlayed with a paintbrush going back and forth for TV video dream sequence.

perspective change with overlaid video:

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mirror shot:

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make people or objects disappear:

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Man Ray: The Starfish (1928)

scenes shot through a mirror play with perspectives.

film through tubes and shapes to make interesting effects:

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Un Chien Andalou is a 1929 Franco-Spanish silent surrealist short film by Spanish director Luis Buñuel and artist Salvador Dalí.

“The screenplay of the film “Andalusian Dog” is based on two dreams of its creators Luis Bunuel and Salvador Dali. Buñuel told Dalí at a restaurant one day about a dream in which a cloud sliced the moon in half “like a razor blade slicing through an eye”. Dalí responded that he had dreamed about a hand crawling with ants. Excitedly, Buñuel declared: “There’s the film, let’s go and make it.” They were fascinated by what the psyche could create, and decided to write a script based on the concept of suppressed human emotions….

According to Bunuel, they adhered to a simple rule: “Do not dwell on what required purely rational, psychological or cultural explanations. Open the way to the irrational. It was accepted only that which struck us, regardless of the meaning….

Buñuel made clear throughout his writings that, between Dalí and himself, the only rule for the writing of the script was: “No idea or image that might lend itself to a rational explanation of any kind would be accepted.” He also stated: “Nothing, in the film, symbolizes anything. The only method of investigation of the symbols would be, perhaps, psychoanalysis.”

In his 1939 autobiography Buñuel said: “In the film the aesthetics of Surrealism are combined to some of Freud‘s discoveries. The film was totally in keeping with the basic principle of the school, which defined Surrealism as ‘Psychic Automatism’, unconscious, capable of returning to the mind its true functions, beyond any form of control by reason, morality or aesthetics.” ”

I find this particular work of Dalis interesting and inspiring as it brings all the concepts of his work into a performance style. In my dissertation I have been commenting on how masks are a tool for transformation and communication, in this section from my dissertation I explain how masks have a surreal quality that can be likened to bringing the surreal aspect of dreams to the real world.

Theatrum Mundi is clearly present in Plato’s Allegory of the cave where he philosophizes that true reality is created by God and the world humans experience through their senses is merely shadowy illusions of true reality. In this analogy God is the playwright and director, we are the audience and life is the performance we are witness to. Plato believed all forms of art that are created are imitations of our illusion of reality and that art in every sense is a form of mimicry.  (Encyclopedia Britannica 2011) If we apply Plato’s theory of shadows to theatre, then we can interpret a mask as being like the shadows that deceive and blind us to true reality. If theatre is impersonating an illusion of reality then masks can be seen to hide the truth further. On the other hand, Allardyce states “religiously,  philosophically and aesthetically the mask consecrates the effacement  of immediate reality for the benefit of a master reality’.” (Allardyce 1963) From her perspective masks aren’t fully lie or deception, nor are they a normal truth. Instead they point to a surreal truth. Surreal truth is like the truth we find in dreams. Our dreams tell us something about our deepest feelings and philosophical interpretations. Masks give us a similar truth that the images in dreams do, therefore allowing us to explore our inner selves further.

In Dali and Bunuel’s film they are using abstract imagery of dreams to create an engaging film that explores the vastness of the human unconsciousness. What Dali has touched upon here, the ability to explore the unconsciousness through our dreams, is something that interests me a lot.

I propose to use ‘Psychic Automatism’ and inspiration from my dreams to help explore my own unconsciousness and in turn help define my inner self further. I also would like to make a surrealist inspired film to accompany my series of masks for my exhibition. The aim of this video will not be to film the entire performance, more to help the viewer understand the context of the work and replicate the feeling the performance may evoke.



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