In the early 1990s, Quentin Taratino shocked audiences by having Michael Madsen’s character cut off on a ear in the movie “Reservoir Dogs”. Since then Q. has made his bones in Hollywood by shocking audiences and pulling together great stories. But almost 100 years ago the originial shock dog was not only shocking audiences, he also managed draw protests from angry crowds AND the clergy. I’m talking about Luis Bunuel, compatriot of Salvador Dali and freaking brilliant weird amazing director from the early 1900s.
The first movie of Bunuel’s they showed us in film school was a classic that mos film school students have seen, but almost nobody else has. It’s a short film called “Un Chien Andalou” and it is a bizarre black and white shock fest, featuring priests being dragged by horses, women with arm pit hair that jumps from place to place, and of course… the moon.
The most badass scene in Un Chine Andalou, which made even auditorium of wise ass twenty something film students scream in horrr, is the knife in the eye scene. It starts off with this young woman staring at the moon…and a guy sharpening a razor blade… and then, well.. check out the video below to see what happens.
Gross! He cuts her eye open! Then the dude riding in the nun’s outfit. The whole movie started angry protests at theaters showing it, people got so mad at the violence and the depiction of the priest. Q must have picked up a thing or two from Luis Bunuel.
Sorry for the picture quality, it was the only copy of the movie online with original sound track.
Bunuel also has one of the original “mockumentaries” a movie called “L’Age D’Or” which means “The Golden Age”. It’s about a poor village where things are really bad, but the doc crew doesn’t seem to care. You can find the ENTIRE MOVIE below. That’s over an hour of classic black and white goodness:
These are both great historical movies to watch, and you will learn a lot from them if you sit through them.
And these are the kinds of movies people watch in film school.
But consider this: 10 years ago the only way you could even see these movies was if you had an original copy of the prints, which were usually only available at a film school. Today, since these works are in the public domain, they are available for free on the internet.
Yet students are still paying $42,000 a year to sit in classrooms at NYU and USC and other film schools to watch these exact movies.
Does that make sense?
It’s your call.