Feature Drama | 1920 | Silent | B/W
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Begins with rising script explaining "extreme surrealist manner" of film. Bunuel and Dali collaboration based images on dreams. Tried to draw on unconscious only and rejected images taken from cultural pattern. "Dispensed with customary morality and reason". Most importantly, "NOTHING SYMBOLIZES ANYTHING". They suggest that psychoanalysis is the only valid form of analysis for this film. End of explanatory titles.
Caption: "Once Upon A Time". See hands sharpening a straight razor, then the face of man who is holding the blade. He smokes a cigarette. He tests the blade across his thumbnail. He exits the room through a curtained door and appears on a balcony holding the razor thoughtfully. Dark screen with the moon in the top left hand corner - white and a perfect sphere. Cut to man's face exhaling smoke. Cut to woman's face in close-up. A male torso can be seen on her right. His arm reaches round the back of her head and prises open her left eye. The straight razor is held to her open eye and moved across. Almost immediately, there is a cut to the moon, now with a small band of cloud passing across it. Clearly, some symbolic correlation is to be drawn between the moon and the eye. Close-up of the eye and the blade cutting into it. Clear, jelly-like fluid is expelled. Caption: "Eight years later". An empty city street. A figure bicycles down the centre of the road. We see the figure from a different angle. It is a man wearing a collar and tie and what appears to be a nurse's uniform over the top. There is a stripey box on a strap round his neck. Back view of cycling man superimposed on a full shot of him in various streets. He rides directly towards the camera.
Close-up of the box which has a small keyhole at the top. Cut to the interior of a room. A woman is seated at a coffee table on the right of the frame. There is an open book on her lap. Behind her to the left is abed, bedside table, lamp and chair. To the right, is a large window which opens onto a balcony. Camera moves closer to woman. It is the same one who had her eye cut. She is still reading. She looks up sharply. Cut to the strange man on the bike. The woman appears tense as she throws the book aside and begins to stand. The book is open on a photograph of a young lady sewing. The woman goes to the window and looks out. She gasps as the bicycling man goes past. He draws to a stop and she jumps back from the window, looking anxious. The man on the bicycle falls sideways onto the pavement. The woman fidgets nervously and leaves the room. The man is stil on the cobbles, holding onto the handlebars of his bike. His eyes are open but he does not move. The woman exits the building and the man turns his head to see her. She wrings her hands and runs over to tend to him. She kneels beside him and repeatedly kisses his face. Cut to close-up of the striped box. Female hands are seen unlocking it and removing a package tied loosely with paper. She unwraps it over the bed and pulls out a tie. She arranges the tie in a collar and places it on a shirt which is already arranged on the bed. The box is at the foot of the shirt.
The woman takes a seat facing the bed and watches. The tie magically knots itself into the collar. The woman looks pensive. Cut between her face and the shirt and box on the bed. She turns towards the door where the man, now wearing a dark coloured suit, is looking intently into his raised hand. A close-up of his palm reveales that ants are scurrying about over his hand. The woman turn in her chair and rises to join him. They both stare transfixed into his hand. Another close-up of the insects. The man and woman look at each other then back at the ants. Fades into a shot of a female armpit and a clump of hair. Fade into figure of short-haired person in an overcoat shot from above. S/he is in the centre of the shot and the surrounding frame is dark. S/he has a cane which is used to prod at a disembodied hand laying on the floor. The rest of the screen is lit to reveal a crowd of men gathered round the hand. The same crowd is then shown side-on. A policeman ushers the crowd away. Shot of woman holding the cane. Disembodied hand. Crowd look worried. Figure continues to prod the hand. The earlier couple watch from a window, above. He smiles. A policeman approaches the woman with the cane and salutes. He picks up the hand and places it in the striped box. She clutches the box to her chest. The couple look worried. The woman with the box seems pleased. A crowd has formed in a circle around the woman - seen from above. The rest of the street is empty.
The Officers clear away the people, leaving only the woman cradling the box. The woman looks vacant - shot from ground. A car speeds past her. The man upstairs look on in nervous anticipation. He gestures his companion to watch. His POV as more cars go by, narrowly missing the young woman in the street. He bites his lip. The young woman remains oblivious as more cars and people go past her. Her POV - a car heading directly for her. She does not react. Shot of her (no box) with hands in the air. Next shot is her cradling the box and looking scared. Shot of car hitting her, the box is on the floor next to her. Man upstairs looks excited. His POV - young woman on the ground, box beside her. Men go to help her and a crowd form. Woman upstairs looks distressed. Man looks at her lasciviously and grabs her bosom. She backs away, appearing scared. He advances on her. She is trapped against a wall. Close-up of his hands grabbing her chest. She pushes him angrily away. He smirks and clutches her breasts. Fade into same shot except now the woman's body is naked. He is dazed and has blood trailing from the corner of his mouth. Fade into her bosom, now clothed. He still in trance with blood on his face.
Close-up of his hands caressing naked female buttocks. His face - gasps then smirks. She pushes him in the chest and runs away. He pursues her and they run around the table, bed and past the window. She is cornered. There is a chair in front of her and she snatches a wall-hanging, raising it threateningly. He steps away and then rounds on her with a purposefull look on his face. He stops and ponders for a moment. He smiles and reaches down to pick up two pieces of rope. She gasps. He is pulling the rope over his shoulders but falls over because the other ends are attached to something out of the shot. There are concrete slabs attached to the rope, just by his shoulders. He continues pulling and falls to the floor again. She lowers her weapon. Long shot of room - it is revealed that each rope is attached to a piano. On each piano there is a dead donkey. Close-up of donkey's face with blood dripping from its eye socket. The man manages to move slowly forward with the pianos being dragged behind. The woman is scared and turns her face to the wall. Two men are seen being dragged along the floor as they too are connected to the rope. Various quick cuts of woman, donkey, pianos, and the man dragging the rope. He has nearly reached her, but she quickly escapes out of the door. He tries to follow but she traps his hand in the door and leans against it so he cannot come through.
Ants appear on his palm. She looks distressed but continues to put pressure on the door. He curls his fingers over his palm. Close-up of her face. Cut to him in bed, wearing the same uniform as at the start. The striped box rests on his stomach and he stares vacantly at the ceiling. The woman releases the pressure on the door. The cutting suggests that they are looking at one another although we do not see them in the same shot. Caption: "About three in the morning". A man in a hat is seen from behind approaching a door and ringing the bell. Hands appear from two gaps in a screen which obscures the full body. They shake a cocktail. The man in the bed looks around sharply. He is angry. The woman crosses the room and opens the door. The second man enters and approaches the bed. He shouts at the first man who seems scared. The exchange continues. The man in the hat grabs the first man and shakes him, eventually dragging him onto his feet. The second man removes the first man's uniform and box and throws them out of the window. The first man tries to conceal the box strap but the second man sees it and throws it out of the balcony window. The first man is ordered against the wall. He stands facing the hanging previously used as a weapon by the woman. The second man removes his hat and begins to walk away.
Caption: "Sixteen years before". The second man walks slowly towards the camera, wringing his hands. Cut to a desk top. Second man reaches desk and picks up a small book. He also takes a larger book and places one in each of the first man's raised hands, shaking his head disapprovingly as he does so. The second man walks briskly away. The first man turns, looking mean, and the books become pistols. The second man stops, turns, and raises his hands. The guns are fired and the second man clutches his chest and sinks down, although no gunshot wounds can be seen. Second man's agonised face - trees behind him. He falls forward. Now he is outside. A naked woman is slumped over with her back to the camera, facing a stream. As the man falls, his hand runs down her back. She does not move. She fades out. Cut to a longshot of the trees and grass, with the body laying prostrate in the middle left of the frame. Men in hats and overcoats appear from all sides. Cut to two men (one short, carrying a cane. One tall) walking along a path next to some bushes. Men examine the body for signs of life. One of the gathered men runs over to the two and they all walk over to the body. The group of men lift the body and carry it away like pall-bearers. The short man leads the procession, and the tall man follows behind. Fade into the door in the earlier couple's room. Woman enters, seems perturbed. She sees a moth on the wall. There are a series of close-up shots until only the skull pattern on the moth's head is visible. Man (previously had gun) clasps his hand to his mouth - possibly suggesting that he has eaten the moth.
Woman looks shocked. She mouths the words "I'm going out" and nervously applies lipstick. He seems instantly to grow a beard. She drops her compact and lipstick, horror-struck. She checks her armpit and finds her hair is missing. She dons a scarf and leaves angrily, poking her tongue out to the man as she goes. Outside the door is a beach. A young man wearing short trousers and a pullover turns around. The woman waves at him. She runs over to him and clutches his arm. He raises his hand to display his wristwatch. She gently lowers his arm. She hugs him but he turns his face away. She kisses him enthusiastically and he puts his arms around her. They walk along the water's edge with their arms around one another, kissing occasionally. They come across the broken remains of the stripey box and the dirty uniform which had been discarded earlier. He pokes at the box with his toe. She picks up the clothing and hands it to him. He throws it away again. They look happy. The End.
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