What Is Surrealism in Film?

Updated: June 07, 2023
In film, surrealism is often characterized by the use of unexpected and jarring juxtapositions, as well as non-sequiturs. This can be done for effect, to create an atmosphere of unease, or simply to challenge the viewer's expectations.
Detailed answer:

Surrealism in film is a genre or style that incorporates elements of surprise, fear, disorientation, and the uncanny. The term “surrealist” comes from the French word for “dream,” which was used by writer André Breton to describe his artistic philosophy.

The genre can be playful and humorous, or dark and disturbing—sometimes both at once! Surrealist films often seek to challenge traditional notions of reality and our perceptions of the world. They can be dream-like sequences or plots with elements of the bizarre or fantastical.

Surrealist films often make use of non-linear storytelling and jump cuts, among other experimental techniques. The genre is often associated with the French New Wave movement and directors such as Luis Buñuel and Jean-Luc Godard.

Surrealism in film can be traced back to early cinema: Georges Méliès’ A Trip to the Moon (1902) is considered a precursor to surrealist film because it incorporated many of the techniques that would later become common in surrealist films such as unexpected juxtapositions, dream sequences, and irrational plot elements.

The Surrealist movement in the arts began in the 1920s; its influence on film was profound.

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What Is Surrealism in Film?. (2023, Jun 07). Retrieved from