In 1929 Dali and Bunuel produced a seventeen-minute film "Un chien andalou". On its first screening, Federico Garcia Lorca called it 'a tiny little shit of a film'. Produced from a script said to be based on two dream images - a woman's eye slit by a razor, ants emerging from a hole in a man's hand - the film shocked audiences. It continues to fascinate, provoke, attract and alienate its viewers. Its eye-slitting sequence and use of dream-like images have influenced filmmakers from Alfred Hitchcock to David Lynch. Elza Adamowicz's fascinating book on "Un chien andalou" takes new approaches to the film, exploring how it can be seen both within and beyond the confines of Surrealism and reviewing its openness to so many readings and interpretations. She reassesses Dali and Bunuel's account of the film as a model surrealist work and its reception by the surrealist group, examines the unresolved tensions within the film itself and includes us as viewers - are we detectives or dreamers? She sets the film into the wider contexts of other texts and of its authors' own experiences, providing a wide and deep guide to this most enigmatic of works.
Elza Adamowicz is Professor of French and Visual Culture at Queen Mary, University of London. Her publications include 'Surrealist Collage in Text and Image: Dissecting the Exquisite Corpse' (1998), 'Ceci n'est pas un tableau: Les ecrits surrealistes sur l'art' (2004), and 'Surrealism: Crossings/Frontiers' (2006).