Surrealist Manifesto & THE BIG LEBOSWKI


A few weeks back we read André Breton’s “First Surrealist Manifesto” (1924). In it Breton lays down the blueprints for the movement, establishing some “rules” and combining elements of abstraction and poetry. More than any document, this one clarifies the spirit, style, and tone of surrealism.

Unlike Buñuel’s films, for instance, a movie such as The Big Lebowski likely does not intentionally illustrate ideas from Breton’s manifesto. But that doesn’t mean this manifesto (or Surrealism, for that matter) is dead and long forgotten; or that we can’t make connections between these two texts, using either to help us think about the other.

In this short piece, pick one kernel or concept or “rule” from the manifesto, and discuss how it applies to The Big Lebowski. How does the movie, in other words, animate something from this classic document that helps you to understand Surrealism?

No need to write up a traditional introduction and conclusion. I suggest diving right in by introducing and clarifying the idea from the manifesto you want to focus on (quoting a passage is fine). Then discuss how you feel the movie applies or makes use of this concept or rule, and how either or both texts (manifesto and movie) are illuminated in the process. 2 pages.

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