Tuesday, 16 September 2008


The next in our week of Surreal films is:

Jan Svankmajer
Revered Czech animator Svankmajer's 1993 film is a virtually dialogue-free exploration of the strange intimate workings of the lives of six common people. Through a disturbing mix of live action and the wondrous stop-motion animation that the director is famous for, the humdrum lives of a postwoman, shopkeeper, television presenter, detective, and two apartment dwellers are examined and intertwined while we see the elaborate processes these people go through to satisfy strange fetishes which involve food, animals, and everything in between in a way which is not all sexual to the observer.

About the director:
After studying at the Institute of Industrial Arts and the Marionette Faculty of the Prague Academy of Fine Arts in the 1950s, Jan Svankmajer started working as a theatre director, chiefly in association with the Theatre of Masks and the Black Theatre. He first experimented with film-making after becoming involved with the mixed-media productions of Prague's Lanterna Magika Theatre. He began making short films in 1964, and continued working in the same medium for over twenty years, when he finally achieved his long-held ambition to make a feature film based on Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland (Neco z Alenky (1988)). He has also exhibited his drawings, collages and 'tactile sculptures', many of which were produced in the mid-1970s, when he was temporarily banned from film-making by the Czech authorities. He has been a card-carrying member of the Prague Surrealist Group since 1969.

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