“The Hearing Trumpet,” by Leonora Carrington

Novel, 1974 A blast of a novel, which promises a little more than it delivers, perhaps, although there are flashes of crazy playfulness and sinister goings on along the way. It’s hard to follow what should be a pretty easy thread of a narrative; of an old woman being committed to an old persons’ home-cum-asylum, but there are a number of asides which hang heavily, … Continue reading “The Hearing Trumpet,” by Leonora Carrington

“The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie,” directed by Luis Buñuel

Movie, 1972 Surreal satire addressing many societal aspects, most notably inequality and class. The various scattered elements – terrorism, martial law, diplomacy, etc – are played out against the backdrop of three couples trying to get together and share a meal. A film which feels of its time and still, somehow, fresh – the army manoeuvres and theatre scenes recall Monty Python, though the latter, … Continue reading “The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie,” directed by Luis Buñuel

“8½,” directed by Federico Fellini

Movie, 1963 Surreal, dense and intense movie, with its share of memorable scenes, comedic moments and switches and sketches emanating from the main protagonist’s mind. While the pacing of some of the scenes may be a little slow for modern viewers, there’s no doubt that the qualities of this film more than compensate and deliver an immersive, rewarding experience. The film turns and is concerned … Continue reading “8½,” directed by Federico Fellini

“The Bed-Sitting Room”, directed by Richard Lester

Movie, 1969 Over-baked zany surreal sixties portrait, on a Britain of the near future struggling after nuclear attack. While visually stunning and packed with an outrageously talented cast, it’s questionable whether this production should have run as one feature film – is there a limit to how much free-wheeling nonsense and anarchy one can view in any sitting? That said, there are some wonderful images … Continue reading “The Bed-Sitting Room”, directed by Richard Lester

"The Feverhead," by Wolfgang Bauer

Novel, 1966 Surreal novel in the form of a written correspondence between two Austrian friends, whose letters about thermometers, poets, parties of tiny school children and two bodied captains cross each other and are variously intercepted by other characters, including the ubiquitous ‘Ulf’. This is a book which starts with zip and humour, but which gets darker as the action ratchets up. The surreal emphasis … Continue reading "The Feverhead," by Wolfgang Bauer

"Branded to Kill", directed by Seijun Suzuki

Movie, 1967 At times hypnotic, at times frustrating thriller about an assassin tormented by his carnal and professional desires and ambitions. A film whose surreal structure, flamboyant scenes and stunning imagery work in isolation, although don’t make for an entirely satisfactory whole. What the film has in these respects it lacks in warmth and humanity, which isn’t helped by a jerky narrative. There’s plenty to … Continue reading "Branded to Kill", directed by Seijun Suzuki

"Eraserhead," directed by David Lynch

Movie, 1977 Eerie characters, settings, situations and morality. Everything in this tale of domestic life is eerie. Horrific at times – most of the time – but stylistically and surrealistically so, through hissing radiators, apparitions, deformed dancers, even more deformed babies and a cast of gruesome characters. This is a film worth enduring, though it truly is a test of endurance, showcasing themes and motifs … Continue reading "Eraserhead," directed by David Lynch