Beware of surrealists, they are crazy people. Un Chien Andalou was enthusiastically received by the burgeoning French surrealist movement of the time  and continues to be shown regularly in film societies to this day. We had to open all doors to the irrational and keep only those images that surprised us, without trying to explain why". Country, family, and religion are dragged through the mud". It is the most profoundly disturbing film I have ever seen.
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This class is about not only growing as a filmmaker, but as an individual, exploring how you can create work with everything you already have, your life experiences. When I went to see her in Saragossa, where she lived with my brothers, I watched the way she read magazines, turning the pages carefully, one by one, from the first to the last. She was in perfect physical health and remarkably agile for her age, but in the end she no longer recognized her children.
She greeted me with the same smile and invited me to sit down—as if she were seeing me for the first time. From my distant past, I can still conjure up countless names and faces; and when I forget one, I remain calm.
Or the name of a familiar object. Am I going to disappear all together? You have to begin to lose your memory, if only in bits and pieces, to realize that memory is what makes our lives. Life without memory is no life at all…our memory is our coherence, our reason, our feeling, even our action. Without it, we are nothing.
The menace is everywhere, not only from its traditional enemy, forgetfulness, but from false memories…our imagination, and our dreams, are forever invading our memories; we end up transforming our lies into truths. Such is my memory. During sleep, the mind protects itself from the outside world; one is much less sensitive to noise, smell and light.
One the other hand, the mind is bombarded by a veritable barrage of dreams that seem to burst upon it like waves. Billions of images surge up each night, then dissolve almost immediately, enveloping the earth in a blanket of lost dreams.
Absolutely everything has been imagined during one night or another by one mind or another, and then forgotten. I have a list of about fifteen recurring dreams that have pursued me all my life like faithful traveling companions. I walk bravely into the room without a light and challenge the spirit to show himself. Sometime I swear at him. I also dream often of my father, sitting at the dinner table with a serious expression on his face, eating very slowly and very little, scarcely speaking.
It was the surrealists who first launched this appeal with a sustained force and courage, with insolence and playfulness and an obstinate dedication to fight everything repressive in the conventional wisdom. As a footnote to surrealism, let me add that I remained a close friend to Charles de Noailles until the end. Whenever I went to Paris, we had lunch or dinner together. This time, however, everything had changed. Marie-Laure was dead, the walls and the shelves stripped of their treasures.
Like me Charles had become deaf. The two of us ate along and spoke very little. Events in my childhood sometimes seem so recent that I have to make an effort to remember that they happened fifty or sixty years ago. And yet at other times life seems to me very long. Until I turned seventy-five, I found old age rather agreeable. It was a tremendous relief to be rid at last of nagging desires; I no longer wanted anything—no more houses by the sea or fancy cars or works of art.
I no longer showed myself in bathing suits in public swimming pools, and I traveled less and less. But my life remained active and well balanced; I made my last movie at seventy-seven. My eyes are weak, and I need a magnifying glass and a special light in order to read. My deafness keeps me from listening to music, so I wait, I think, I remember, filled with a desperate impatience and constantly looking at my watch.
Sometimes, I cheat, but only by fifteen minutes or so. Sometimes, too, friends come by to chat. Dinners at seven, with my wife, and then I go to bed. I never watch television. Sometimes an entire week goes by without a visitor, and I feel abandoned. I leaf through it from time to time, one name beside the other, in alphabetical order.
There are red crosses next to the surrealists, whose most fatal year was when Man Ray, Calder, Max Ernst and Prevert all died within a few months of one another. Some of my friends are upset about this book—dreading, no doubt, the day they will be in it. The thought of death has been familiar to me for a long time. From the time that skeletons were carried through the streets of Calanda during Holy Week procession, death had been an integral part of my life.
Sometimes I think, the quicker, the better—like the death of my friend Max Aub, who died all of a sudden during a card game. I say aloud. When I leave, I just say goodbye once again. In the name of Hippocrates, doctors have invented the most exquisite form of torture ever known to man: survival. If they would only let us die when the moments comes, and help us to go more easily!
I convoke around my deathbed my friends who are confirmed atheists, as am I. Then a priest, whom I have summoned, arrives; and to the horror of my friends I make a confession, ask for absolution for my sins, and receive unction. After which I turn over on my side and expire. But will I have the strength to joke at that moment? Only one regret. Posted by.
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