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BREAKFAST: After eating breakfast, a man is transformed into an elaborate dumb-waiter-style breakfast dispenser - and the same fate befalls the man who obtains breakfast from him. LUNCH: ... See full summary »
A memorably bizarre screen version of Lewis Carroll's novel 'Alice's Adventures in Wonderland', mixing one live actor (Alice) with a large variety of stop-motion animated creatures, ranging from the complex (the White Rabbit) to the incredibly simple (the Caterpillar, consisting of a sock, a couple of glass eyes and a pair of false teeth). The original story is followed reasonably faithfully, though those familiar with this director's other films won't be the least bit surprised by the numerous digressions into Svankmajer territory, living slabs of meat and all. As the opening narration says, it's a film made for children... perhaps? Written by
Michael Brooke <email@example.com>
In the outdoor scene when Alice cuts her finger, she is obviously missing a front tooth. See more »
Alice thought to herself... Alice thought to herself 'Now you will see a film... made for children... perhaps... ' But, I nearly forgot... you must... close your eyes... otherwise... you won't see anything.
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How best to interpret such a well-known classic in movie terms? Well, Jan Svankmajer, clearly an artist himself (a Czech version of Peter Greenaway) does it by extracting the essence of the book; the black humour and droll critique of Victorian society, investing it with his own rich surrealistic imagery. (Disney is not in the picture!)
Alice, played by a beautiful, doll-like girl, is energetic, brave and simple-minded, while her surroundings gradually go bonkers in ritual displays of nonsensical social custom. Svankmajer's celebrated mastery of dolls is on superb display, and dead objects, mostly worn, tattered and grotesquely animated, take on nightmarish properties. Foodstuffs certainly look repellent when sliding noisily across the kitchen-table!
The start of the movie is classic Svankmajer: Alice lies on the floor of her room, idly throwing pebbles into a half-empty tea-cup. (seen as a series of hypnotically repeated actions). The White Rabbit, here a stuffed specimen inside a glass display-cage, suddenly comes to life, puts on clothing hidden under the floor of his cage, cuts the wires that fasten his feet to the floor, breaks the glass, and he's off!
Svankmajer's "Alice" is the only version that comes close to rendering what Lewis Carroll's book is all about. It's a top notch art-movie for discerning audiences.
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