A woman sits alone on a chair at a table in a room on one of the top floors of an asylum. Bright spot lights dot the night, sometimes shining on her window. She sharpens pencils and writes ... See full summary »
In Prague, a professorial puppet, with metal pincers for hands and an open book for a hat, takes a boy as a pupil. First, the professor empties fluff and toys from the child's head, leaving... See full summary »
A magnet moves on a floor. A moth beats against a window. A doll child watches the magnet; threads of metal filings gather around the magnet. The doll, who's sitting at a table, looks in a ... See full summary »
A tear falls from the eyes of a veiled face. A white ball whips around a heart-shaped paddle. A mournful voice sings, "Are we still married?" A child's stuffed rabbit watches, sees ... See full summary »
Loosely based on the Mesopotamian "Epic of Gilgamesh", here Gilgamesh is portrayed as a grotesque, Picasso-esque being who uses a tricycle to patrol his box-shaped kingdom that hovers above a dark abyss.
An enigmatic story told in seven chapters, each introduced by an elliptical sentence on a title card. A man is in an apartment. He goes outside where a red tram runs beside a cathedral. He ... See full summary »
A young man goes to a school for servants run by a brother and sister. In the dreamlike and surreal world that he enters, how will his presence impact the people there and possibly even the school itself?
Oscillating hands each hold a pen; a man made of wire has a malevolent look and an oscillating eye as he pokes at a bump on his forehead. Op-art stripes are in the fabric. Lines become jumbles that become balls that oscillate, bounce, or stay suspended in air. In a dark apartment, a man lies in bed, a forlorn woman stands nearby rubbing first her forehead then her chest; a fan whirs between them. On either side of their apartment are well-lit chambers with stairs and forms at right angles bathed in light. Briefly a human moves onto the set to place a ball. The camera moves among these figures and landscapes; mournful violin music, sometimes staccato, plays. Written by
I perceive this film to be a watershed in the brother's oeuvre. The early films, including "Street of Crocodiles (1986)", owe much to Svankmajer, and in some respects are still made in his shadow.
I have rarely been as visually stimulated as I was during this film and its 11 minutes. The amazing focus shifts and the movement of the camera have such a visual aura around them it's difficult to exactly decipher why they are so effective cinematically. The most astonishing sequence is the one with the two puppets in the dark room, the camera moving horizontally to the right revealing a brightly lit corridor with a great set of stairs, then back to the dark room again, then moving vertically, then moving in the depth, dimensionally, then back again, then to the right, revealing another beautiful brightly lit structure, a hallway of sorts. This film exhibits not only brilliant use of light, it's a groundbreaking use of space and as such stands as one of the greatest film moments I know of (I really have to make a list of these).
Zeitgeist and BFI have released it in Regions 1 and 2 respectively, and it's basically the same release. It has this film both in its original aspect ratio of 16:9 widescreen as well as in Scope (2.35:1).
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