A very free adaptation of Marlowe's 'Doctor Faustus', Goethe's 'Faust' and various other treatments of the old legend of the man who sold his soul to the devil. Svankmajer's Faust is a ... See full summary »
When a childless couple learn that they cannot have children, it causes great distress. To ease his wife's pain, the man finds a piece of root in the backyard and chops it and varnishes it into the shape of a child. However the woman takes the root as her baby and starts to pretend that it is real. When the root takes life they seem to have gained a child; but its appetite is much greater than a ... See full summary »
A horror movie testing two approaches to running an insane asylum - absolute freedom versus control and punishment - within the context of a world that combines the worst of both. Jean ... See full summary »
Six outwardly average individuals have elaborate fetishes they indulge with surreptitious care. A mousy letter carrier makes dough balls she grotesquely ingests before bed. A shop clerk ... See full summary »
A bust of Stalin is cut open on an operating table, leading to an elaborate animated depiction of Czech history from 1948 (the Communist takeover) to 1989 (the Velvet Revolution). Some ... See full summary »
A quiet young English girl named Alice finds herself in an alternate version of her own reality after chasing a white rabbit. She becomes surrounded by living inanimate objects and stuffed ... See full summary »
A three-part depiction of various forms of communication. 'Factual Discussion' depicts three heads (made up of fruit, kitchen utensils and writing implements respectively) endlessly ... See full summary »
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>
Everytime Alice attempts to open up a drawer, the handle seems to break off. See more »
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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