How does Transflux justify charging $15 for the DVD edition of a seventeen-minute short film, regardless of whether the movie in question is the quintessence of cinematic surrealism and one of the most influential pictures of all time? Well, they pad it with whatever supplemental material they can find and hope for the best.
No kidding: this disc has a scene selection menu to navigate its film's five chapters.
Footage from Buñuel's movies and an interview with his son, Juan-Luis, comprise the substance of two short featurettes. In the first of these, he discusses his father's life, career and death in some small detail; in the second, he explains the ugly, acrimonious split between Buñuel and Dalí. The latter of these benefits from Buñuel's objective perspective of Dalí's erratic and cruel behavior, if only because it's rude to judge the demented, regardless of how inspired they are.
One commentary track is voiced by Stephen Barber, who writes books of varying quality about pivotal avant-garde figures. Barber should restrict his activities to the textual medium, because this is without any doubt whatsoever the single worst commentary track that I've heard, and I've heard dozens. Barber's commentary is dull, halting and monotonous, and he has nothing profound or interesting to say about either the film or Dadaism.
Last among the disc's features is certainly the most superfluous: two surreal still images and a textual statement about Un Chien Andalou by illustrator/photographer/filmmaker Dave McKean (Mirrormask).
Un Chien Andalou really ought be committed to a $1 budget DVD edition with a few other vintage avant-garde movies in the public domain, and distributed via dollar stores and dedicated video retailers alike. This would make one of the great early classics of cinema history accessible to a wide audience. Failing that, it's been available from the Internet Archive for years.
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About the reviewer
Robert Buchanan (rbuchanan)
I'm a bibliophile, ailurophile, inveterate aggregator, dedicated middlebrow and anastrophizing syntax addict. My personality type is that of superlative INTJ.
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