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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
May contain spoilers.
This film is divided into three sections: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner. Breakfast is an amusing piece where people become dumb waiters. It reminded me a lot of City of Lost Children or Delicatessen, creepy views down a shaft in the middle of someone's body. As one eats from the other person, then they switch roles.
Lunch has two men who are hungry at a restaurant. The waiters won't wait on them so they start to eat the flowers on their table and soon start eating their plates, their clothes and the table. One of the men is prissy and well to do, the other is poor and dirty. I got the feeling this had something to do with the class struggle and how it is often ignored (hence the waiters) and it ends with the well to do guy wanting to eat the poor guy.
Dinner has people eating their own body parts. This part reminded me of the Brothers Quay, especially the use of the wooden arm. It reminded me of martyr painting, where a women had her breasts or eyes on a plate. A man is going to eat his penis too, but he covers it, even in eating your own privates, there is shame!
All three parts take a look at greedy human consumption, how we use people and money, how we take things for granted. I really enjoyed it.
This film is one of the tightest most beautiful short films I have seen, as well as being one that truly forces you to think . From an animator who has delivered so many incredible films ,I see this as a true center piece for his constant trials with censorship authorities. Using food itself as a social commentary for poverty and oppression, Jan is able to make us both visually intrigued while still delivering an intellectual point,something rare in todays world of film.
It's an apt title and solo-focus for Food to be a Jan Svankmajer short; he's obsessed with it, in case you couldn't tell from his other movies (it's used sometimes to ridiculous amounts in Little Otik), and in both playful and gleefully deranged ways. In this short we see his knack at mixing live-action and stop-motion as two gentlemen at a table have plates of food and eat them up... then they eat the forks, then the plates, then the table, then the chairs, not to mention their clothes, and we see how their mouths suddenly flip over to stop-motion for just that bit of mastication and then back to the real human forms. There's also the great bit with the man as a kind of cash-register of food as people sit down and at the flick of a button on his jacket get plastic forks and other things to munch down on their lot of good. Sometimes its disgusting, and at the end when actual body parts get in the mix of things (including, not too undeservedly, a penis and testicles, which actually are the dividing line that isn't crossed) it's downright crude, but it's downright raunchy and crazy and quintessentially Svankmajer. The icing on the cake, of course, is the Blue Danube used as the two naked men munch on their table.
Jan Svankmajer has portrayed many wacky things, but "Jidlo" is a whole
new level. Portraying bizarre things happening during each meal, he
goes all out. The first vignette "Breakfast" seems to be a slight
repeat of his earlier movie "Et Cetera". The most eye-opening vignette
is "Lunch", in which two men at a table can't get the waiter's
attention, and resort to eating their plates, utensils, clothes, and
even the table...but they don't intend to stop there. With "Dinner",
Svankmajer decides to be grosser than the Farrelly brothers could ever
dream of being.
Maybe this isn't Svankmajer's best movie ever, but it's still worth seeing.
What strikes me about this movie it is how little I can give to make
much sense of it. I guess it has some social comments on it, about our
consumption and our consumerism society, on life and everything else.
But most importantly, it doesn't really matter, you get to just
experience, pay attention and to be in that state of not getting it. I
think that might be the experience to have, unlearning things. Turning
them upside down, to transform them. In a personal level it affected
me, after seeing a sequence of his shorts and this one, to be more
conscious on how we act and driven our desires, you know that feeling
of salivating when you think about a bacon sandwich, it has stopped,
and it was interesting to be that far apart, to change that programming
to one that wasn't completely destructive and irrational.
All this conversation, reminded me of that Elliott Smith song called, "A distorted reality is now a necessity to be free."
Jan Svankmajer is the most unusual stop-motion filmmaker whose work I
have seen. Instead of the typical models which are brought to life
using this method, Svankmajer takes everyday objects or creepy stuff
he's found, perhaps, in antique shops to create films that are truly
I hate reviewing the films of Jan Svanmajer, as each time I see one of his films I am convinced that it's THE weirdest film the man has ever made. And yet, time and again, I find I am wrong, as some other film of his turns out to be even weirder. This is definitely true of "Food"--a truly bizarre and fanciful film that is really impossible to describe--you just need to see it for yourself. I will TRY to briefly explain what the film is like. As in other Svankmajer films, this one uses stop-motion but in this film it's mostly to animate people--making them move in a very jerky and robotic manner. What, exactly, they do is beyond belief but always involves the eating process. It consists of a segment about several different meals and all are VERY creative and ultra-strange--so strange that you might want to show this one to others. And, unlike a few of his films, this one is okay to show to most kids--it's creepy but in a very cartoony way. And, interestingly, it also uses some claymation which is blended into the characters. Very much worth seeing--especially if you are a bit weird yourself (which I happily am). I assume that this is NOT for everyone's taste.
Not to be missed!
The film goes as the summary tells but it is much more than that.
it would be another boring idea with no details. The major focus is on
lunch, other meals appearing to be only preface and epilogue, which is
pacing faster and faster to reach a point of craziness at one time
dumbfounding and mesmerizing. The contest and contrast between two diners
are not on how fast we can eat but on what can be eaten and how do we eat
This short piece is a good example because the audience feels that it refers to something which cannot be clearly identified, thus allows for multiple explanations. You can substitute 'eat' with various other words, to see what you get there, and you are no where near the director's idea. Maybe he didn't have one at all!
This is an okay Svankmajer short that comes with Conspirators of
Pleasure on the Kino DVD release.
It's worth seeing for that movie but seems much longer than it actually it is.
What's interesting is how each chapter seems to deliberately pare itself down in the level of detail given each chapter. The first segment, "Breakfast" is uniform in it's depiction of each actor's "meal". "Lunch" (the most obviously meaningful of the three) moves along a bit faster and "Dinner" just crams as many brief encounters into a couple minutes as possible.
Svankmajer, it would seem, is pretty serious about breakfast and pretty lazy by dinnertime, but I like Dinner the best.
7 out of 10
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Svankmejer evolves. Or rather the two warring beings within his body become stronger. One of these is the visually creative mind we love. The other is the blunt moralizer we hate. That latter has no sense of humor, has no respect at all for the audience, and insists on pounding home his simple point.
Avoid this, it just encourages his evil self.
Ted's Evaluation -- 1 of 4: You can find something better to do with this part of your life.
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