These are films that distort the real. he contributions of surrealism to twentieth century art and literature are widely recognised. It would be almost impossible to write a survey of modern art or a history of modern literature or literary theory without the inclusion of surrealism. The aesthetics of the surrealists, and their impact on later artistic styles and movements in Europe, America, and elsewhere, are the subject of a growing body of work. Contemporary film, photography, and even advertising have been said to owe a debt to surrealism; and the name and work of Salvador Dali, if not of Aragon or Breton.
Andre Breton talked of surrealism as “the prehensile tail” of romanticism, (in the shadow and its shadows). The objections that we often have in reality, as soon as we are talking of surrealism in film/cinema, we find that these objections are lost. We seem to enter a world where the unconscious ans conscious do not meet. You are in a “conscious hallucination” argues Jean Goudal. Life in the street outside no longer exists. Our problems evaporate, our neighbours disappear. Our body itself submits to a sort of contemporary depersonalisation which takes away the feeling of its own existence.
We are nothing but two eyes revited to ten square meters of white sheet. ” (pg:86-87) According to Breton, “language has been given to man so that he may make surrealist use of it” (proclaimed in his First Manifesto of Surrealism of 1924, pg 35 language of revolt:dada and surrealist literature and film). For Freud there was one type of dream or wish fulfilment which is associated with a nightmare. The punishment is one that contains a sado-maschoistic wish. In life we have a whole variety of dreams with multitudes of experiences.
Unlike psychoanalytical understanding, surrealism for those like Breton is the current existence of dream and reality in an absolute existence. What is termed as ‘conscious hallucination’. A. Kyrou talks of it as a contamination of reality by the imaginaion. Surrealist Andre Breton on the other hand argues, surrealism is based on the belief on the superior reality of certain forms of associations, hereto for neglected in the omnipotence of dreams, in the undirected play of thought.. ” Surrealism is mobile in ideas and images.
The experimentation of the cinematic screen. Being allowed space outside of that reality. Surrealist movement emerged from sybolism. Odilon Redon are famous symbolist painters of the mid 18th century. It is a movement that expressed the free association of images without having to have meaning and coherent connection. A lot of horror films use surrealism because it is based on realism. They are preoccupied in exploring the unconscious in the conscious. They disrupt and distort the film experience.
When we talk of dreams and nightmares in film we are frequently preoccupied with the experience of the audience. When we are in the cinema as spectators we suspend ourselves into the world of the story space. According to Robin Hood, (An Introduction to the American Horror Film: In the Planks of Reaon), the spectator sits in darkness, and the sort of involvement the entertainment film invites neceesitates a certain switichig-off of consciousness, a losing oneself in a fantasy experience….. Dreams….. the embodiment of repressed desires, tentions, fears that our conscious mind rejects. (ibid: pg173).
We can see the influence of symbolism in eraserhead. The film is presented as a delirious dream, and “supported by the sumptuous visual conception: the swirling composition of the sets and the camera movement, the often heady transition of shots. ” (pg:396: vera Dika ‘From Dracula-With Love’:In the Dread of Difference).
She adds that images seem to superimpose one on the other, understanding the screen as a pictorial plane rather than as a lived scene and images dissolve into others based on visual similarities and meanings. give example) The film is fragmented interms of story, decentred when are talking of the characters within it, and artificial/fake when it comes to sets and acting. According to Dika,, surrealism can often be cited in the films tendency for combustive combinations and for disruption of its internal continuity. In Eraserhead the films narrative transitions do not have conventional Hollywood invisibility and linearity.