Surreal Cinema

An Andalusian Dog and Surreal Cinema

Surrealism is an aesthetic movement that was born in the 1920s. Surrealist philosophy manifests itself in the different arts, including audiovisual media. The present investigation traces the evolution of surrealism in the cinema to explain how it is captured in the film Un PerroAndaluz by Luis Buñuel and how it is reflected in later works.

The research has a theoretical value that will help us better understand the relationship between cinema and surrealism and discern how an artistic movement can be translated into cinema.

It will also allow the reader to clearly distinguish strictly surrealist cinema from cinema influenced by surrealism.

The analysis will be carried out considering the following axes:

  • context, concept, and characteristics of surrealism.
  • Historical context, concept, and cinematographic resources of surrealist cinema.
  • Origin and description of the surreal elements of Un PerroAndaluz • Analysis of the film and its significance.
  • Brief evaluation of the persistence of surrealism in films after Un PerroAndaluz.

The sources consulted are mainly primary. We turned to books and articles online to flesh out the report. We also turn to secondary sources for dissertations and articles to obtain information about surrealist cinema on a more subjective level. On the other hand, we interviewed two professors from the faculty to obtain diversity and richness in research. These are educators who are familiar with the history of cinema and handle technical concepts of audiovisual direction. Their opinions have support and coherence.

This report’s main objective is to test the hypothesis that gave rise to the investigation: An Andalusian Dog is the most representative film of surrealism. We intend that after reading the report, the reader can:

  • Determine what surrealism is and what its characteristics are.
  • Identify the main cinematographic resources of surrealist cinema.
  • Recognize the surreal elements of the film Un PerroAndaluz by Luis Buñuel.
  • Distinguish a surrealist film from a film with surrealist overtones.


Surrealism is based on theories about the irrational and unconscious embodied in art. It is the aesthetic movement that succeeded Dada and is closely linked to it.

Dadaism arises as a manifestation against traditional art that rejects the conventional forms of its production in its most extreme expression.

Surrealism was officially born in Paris, France in 1924 with the publication of the Surrealist Manifesto of André Breton, who was a poet and critic who, at the end of the First World War, began to look for new ways of knowing the man as a whole; proposing an approach that moved away from realism and reason, the forces that governed society at that time.

Breton wanted to understand the human mind at its deepest level. To do so, he studied Freud’s theories, and they formulated his hypotheses. He found that only through unconscious reactions, the mind is capable of releasing its irrational truths. Humans can better understand the mind’s machinations while decreasing its level of complexity, that is, the less rational control it exercises over thought. From these premises, Breton theorized that psychoanalysis could be approached as a method of artistic creation.

The human mind is constantly trying to link thoughts together and make sense of them. When thoughts escape rational control, the mind builds fragments of objects and experiences that we once lived or wish to live. They are manifested through dreams and fantasies that couple incompatible variables in reality.…