Moreover, some of the critiques, tried to criticize the hollow character of Surrealism, based on its own premises. They claimed that Surrealist works are not the products of unconscious, as the Surrealists would like it to be. Rather, it is conscious prescription to unconscious, concerning the subject and results of artistic activity, which is deeply contradictory to genuine psychoanalysis, which reveals unconscious through the process of individual interaction with patient on the part of qualified psychoanalytic. The above mentioned thesis seems to reinforce the first one.
Indeed, Surrealism is then debunked as irrational fantasy, because it ruins Real’s structure, without providing any true vision of its inner structure. In this way, the objective reality of culture, ideology and society, criticized by Surrealists is in fact more genuine and true, than the distorted fantasies produced by their imagination. The latter is one of the main reasons, why Michal considers Surrealism to be opposite to arts, connected with conceptual representations, spatial forms and structures, such as architecture.
(Michal, 57). Notwithstanding some positive features of the above discussed critical points, to deal with Surrealism as mere irrational fantasy means not perceiving its social and philosophical roots in linguistic radicalism and psychoanalysis (Rabinowitch, 14). Surrealism’s resistance against rationality and reality is directed at creating preconditions for reviving Real and openings its inner structures, which are hidden by dominant ideology and social relations (Matthews, 1971).
The latter is inextricably linked to the Freudian analysis of unconscious through the prism of Ego, Superego and Id. Freudian analysis showed that social, cultural norms and stereotypes are often repressive of human libidinal forces and sexuality. Their sublimation often results in neurosis and maniacal syndromes, taboos and psychological distortions. These distortions tend to reflect in social life of millions through wars, conflicts and other representations of violence.
Culture, ideology and religion are repressive, because they hide real intention of power and pervasive ambitions, which are hidden behind good words and sentiments. In this view, the reality should be revealed in its unconscious, which would debunk its unjust and distorted character. The latter is the only way for psychological and social relief. The same notions may be found in Lacanian’ psychoanalysis, which is built around the triad of Real, Imaginary and Symbolical.
The first represented hidden essence of total despair and the absence of human stability, which characterized existence (Wright, 18). Symbolic and Imaginary hide these inner instability in social and ideological stereotypes and meanings (Ragland, 56). Hence, based on the analysis of connection between Surrealism and Psychoanalysis, it may be claimed, that Surrealism break with superficial realism is directed at finding new deeper foundations of reality and its hidden structure.
As Matthews argues in relation to Surrealist attitude to films, “Hence the first step one must take, when dealing with the surrealist attitude to films, is to attempt to understand why surrealists look to the movies to question the fundamental conventions of realism, and why they are persuaded that films lend themselves to discrediting those conventions. ” (Matthews, 76). Surrealism, hence, represents fantasy, but it is not a kind of fantasy, that has nothing to do with reality, instead fantasy in Surrealism is other side of reality, which makes it intact and contradictory.
As Michael O’Pray argues in relation to Svankmejer’s films: ‘Svankmejer’s films not experienced as separate or external, envelopment of the audience through overwrought and manic subject matter. Fantasy is not to be identified solely with diegetic characters and the complexities of narratives, it is embedded in the films as a whole, and especially in its form’ (O’Pray, 1989, 45). Based on these preliminary findings let us discuss the structure of Surrealism’s relation with reality, focusing on two Surrealist films – Bunuel’s and Dali’s Un Chien Andalou and Hitchcock’s Spellbound.