Saturday, August 19, 2006

CZECH CINEMA—The Jan Svankmajer YouTube Gallery

I'm presuming folks are familiar with Jan Svankmajer's signature animation. But, just in case you're not—and you really should be—here's a YouTube gallery. The first, Meat Love, which starts out as something of an innocent though subsequently panfried dalliance, prefigures the all-out meat orgy of Lunacy.

Svankmajer obviously likes to play with his food, even as he plays with our fears of being food, and even as the methods of food's production enslave us as human beings and the rituals of dining reveal our mannered absurdities. Here are Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner. Be forewarned, your appetites will be whetted and you should have a snack nearby.

One of Svankmajer's previous features was Alice, his treatment of the Lewis Carroll story, and here's the opening sequence where Alice follows the rabbit.

This Svankmajer piece, Darkness Light Darkness, retain's Lewis Carroll's influence, reminiscent of the scene where Alice is a giant in the house.

Here's Svankmajer in true surrealist-political form in The Death of Stalinism In Bohemia.

Lest you think Svankmajer is limited in his animation techniques and tethered to claymation, here's his stunningly inventive combination cut-out and collage of Etcetera, with its lovely rendition of "My hat it has three corners. Three corners has my hat. And had it not three corners, it would not be my hat."

Here's a triptych teaser of Faust with its disturbingly eerie alchemical homunculus and its puppets of good and evil. I'm sorry to say I've never seen Faust in its entirety. I await the opportunity.

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