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The Apoplectic Walrus2015

  • 3.3
Joanna wanted a film on the collages of Max Ernst, and I wanted to make a tribute to the two men who most influenced my film work at the beginning: Max Ernst (collage) and Luis Bunuel (surrealism in cinema). I had written a book of about one-hundred pages in the surrealist tradition of "automatic writing," which I called the "Cloud Journal." I thought I could marry some of the text of the journal with the collages of Ernst's UNE SEMAINE DE BONTE, along with bits of my own animation. So I shot the film on day one of the Ernst collage novel (example: lion), and used the first sixteen pages of my journal. I enlisted my friend and collaborator, Leroy Clark, to narrate and engineer the sound. We finished up digitally, then on 16mm film (the original format). I have nothing esoteric to say about this film, except to explain the title: it is a tribute to Luis Bunuel. There is no walrus in the film, as there is no dog in UN CHIEN ANDALOU. - Lawrence Jordan

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Member Reviews (3)

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top reviewer

I adore the collages by Ernst... Was just reading some early critical essays by Godard though and one statement which resonated with me seems suitable in expressing my complaint with "The Apoplectic Walrus": "However, it was necessary that in the sign - in other words, that which indicates something in whose place it appears; in this case, a conflict of wills - the mise en scène should respect the arabesque which underlines its effect, and like Dreyer or Gance, should use it with delicate virtuosity; for it cannot shock through mere empty exaggeration." - [Godard, on Hitchcock's Strangers on a Train] Of course the problem here isn't shock. Surrealism is a tough one, and I'm sure many might react each in their own different way to such a film. My problem with it though is that this relationship between content and mise en scene Godard is speaking of, and which I agree is so essential, does not seem to be in harmony here. Even if what is *signified* is not reachable in such a work at the very least it has to *ring true*, to use a colloquialism. And the text does not do that for me, or indeed, seem to fit with these images.

2 members like this review
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top reviewer

This is the latest chapter in a filmmaking odyssey that spans over 60 years. When Lawrence Jordan made his first experimental film, Eisenhower was president, Elvis Presley was cutting his first songs at Sun Records, the price of gasoline was 22 cents a gallon, and a computer was a 29,000 lb. monstrosity that look up the space of the entire floor of a building. And here is Jordan over half-a-century later, animated Max Ernst collages. Those who create can only hope to have careers that are so long and prolific

Curious.