One of the most important, influential and brilliant examples of surrealist cinema in the shape of the 1930 L'Age D'or is to get a dual format release (DVD and Blu-ray) later this month from the BFI, complete with a new HD transfer of its notorious 1929 predecessor, Un Chien Andalou.
Even now, 80 years after it was made, the legendary collaboration between filmmaker Luis Buñuel and artist Salvador Dalí that is L'Age d'or (The Golden Age), a uniquely savage blend of visual poetry and social commentary, remains as brilliantly witty and shocking as ever. A sinister yet poignant chronicle of a couple's struggle to consummate their frenzied desire in the face of a stream of obstacles, in the form of bourgeois society and the Church, the film was banned and vilified for many years for its subversive eroticism and furious dissection of 'civilised' values.
Also included in the package is a new HD transfer of the 1960 restoration of Un Chien Andalou, Buñuel and Dalí's provocative debut which created a scandal at its premiere. Presented here with the restoration score, based on Buñuel's notes, the BFI has also commissioned musicmakers Mordant Music (who re-scored an array of 70s and 80s public information films and documentary shorts produced by the Central Office of Information (COI) last year for the startling BFI DVD release MisinforMation) to create an alternative soundtrack option, which is premiered on this release.
Extras carried over from the previous DVD release include Robert Short's filmed introduction and audio commentaries for both L'Age d'or and Un Chien Andalou, and A Propósito de Buñuel – a feature-length documentary on the life and work of Luis Buñuel, by José Luis López-Linares and Javier Rioyo.
L'Age d'or will be released in the UK as a dual format package (DVD and Blu-ray) by the BFI on 30th May 2011 at the RRP of £19.99. Featuring both high definition and standard definition transfers of both L'Age d'or and Un Chien Andalou, the release will have the following special features:
- Selected scenes commentary for L' Age d'or by author and filmmaker Robert Short;
- Un Chien Andalou (1929, 16 mins): the 1960 restoration of Buñuel and Dalí's debut;
- Alternative score for Un Chien Andalou by Mordant Music;
- Commentary for Un Chien Andalou by Robert Short;
- A Propósito de Buñuel (2000, 99 mins, DVD only);
- Filmed introduction by Robert Short (25 mins, DVD only);
- 26-page illustrated booklet with essays, biographies and credits.
You can read our review of the BFI's earlier DVD release of L'Age d'or and Un Chien Andalou, from which most of the extras on this new release have been sourced, here.