Research on Surrealism in Film (Creative Artefact 3)

In this day and age, we have the ability to create media in so many different forms. We can take and share pictures to the world in seconds, record high definition video at the touch of a button, create works of art that can travel without leaving one room. This ease and freedom of expression can get lost at times though. Often, media loses its originality, its validity as we all end up taking pictures of the same things, recording the same events, sharing the same content. My interest on this topic draws me towards the more niche areas of film, the content that isn’t present in our everyday lives. Content creators who think completely outside the box, away from the usual influences that end up taking over our minds and forcing us into routines.

The final creative artefact focuses on the imagination, the experimentation of ideas. I decided to focus primarily on Surrealist film and the world away from the norm. According to CineCollage (2012) “Surrealism was an avant-garde art movement in Paris from 1924 to 1941, consisting of a small group of writers, artists, and filmmakers”. The movement used shocking imagery and techniques that were considered absurd in the world of filmmaking at that particular time. The purpose of this movement was to challenge the way that art was representing reality, forcing the audience to think deeper into the images before them. This movement was fundamental in pushing creative thinking outside of the formative standard that had been developed over time. It is hard to distinguish Surrealism as a genre, it’s move of a movement, a collection of ideas and thoughts that help identify change. How we look at a piece of art, how we watch film, how we are shocked but thirst for more. Surrealism plays on this feeling, engaging the audience.

A film that I recently watched entitled ‘Conspirators of Pleasure’ (D. Jan Svankmajer, 1996) is a great example of Surrealist film. It focuses on a number of everyday characters who have strange fetishes and personal projects that revolve around their unlikely desires. The film works on so many levels to shock us but also to make us think deeper, past just the moving image but why they have been constructed this way. How we can relate to our own desires, the ones we keep secret, the ones that we’d die to ensure stay hidden. What’s interesting is that this is an erotic film but with hardly any nudity or typical sexual scenes. It makes use of objects and sexualising things that we may never have looked at in such a way. “Svankmajer is a poet of the physical. There almost no nudity in Conspirators, and no explicit reference to genitals, but this is a most sensuous (as opposed to sensual) movies.” (Smalley, 2016) He plays on peoples senses, aspects of each character that shock us but leave us wanting more, wanting to understand how the depths of their desires. A scene showcases a woman having her toes sucked by a fish. Bizarre as this may sound, the woman has a profoundly unique experience, a euphoric pleasure. We may have never experienced it but after watching, a part of us wonders what that feeling would be like whether good or bad. Forgive me for saying this but I too wonder what it would feel like.


Here is a trailer that does well to collectively represent the themes and enough to show the imagery of Svankmajer’s film.

I believe that this movement was the most influential on art and film as it pushed the idea to challenge what we consider the norm, to focus on areas of human life that we like to keep quiet. Our deepest, our darkest, our more depraved thoughts. Filmmakers have the power to create so, so much. To tell stories that may have never been told, stories that may have been mentioned between a handful of people. Many of these films look at bizarre fetish’s and personal projects that way only directly resonate with a few people but the over-arching idea can relate to all of us. However small, however large we all have our quirks that make us the unique beings that we are. Whether these, physical, sexual. There is a world to explore here.

Surrealist film is a big lover of mine, I have watched so many bizarre films that have had me thinking for days and days. I’ve been going online researching into how the film was made, what ideas the director had, what influenced the film. I love to be shocked!! I love to see how far the filmmaker will push, how far he will go, how long he can keep us watching. Some people cannot face this kind of film which is ok but personally I see it as an art form, an insight into the minds of others. The Surrealist movement has simply done wonders for the world of film. “Surrealism creates the possibility of cinema itself as an independent and unique visual art form” (The Art Story, 2016)

I have a number of ideas for my own creative artefact. I am going to experiment with how I shall be recording the images and constructing them together. The themes will surround human and animal behaviour as well as their relationships. I have experimented in the past but not on this level. Sexualisation will be rooted under my constructions as well. All will be explained in a future post.


CINECOLLAGE (2012) Surrealist Cinema? [Online] Available from: [Accessed: 14th November 2016]

CINEFAMILY (2012) Jan Svankmajer’s CONSPIRATORS OF PLEASURE [Online Video] September, 7th. Available from: [Accessed: 11th November 2016]

SMALLEY, G. (2016) 226. Conspirators of Pleasure (1996) [Online] January 20th, 2016. Available from: [Accessed: 11th November 2016]

THE ART STORY (2016) Surrealist Film [Online] Available from: [Accessed: 14th November 2016]


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s