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Lunacy (2005)

Sílení (original title)
A man takes up residence with a mysterious marquis and is soon persuaded to enter into an asylum for preventative therapy. Things are not what they seem, and the marquis may be even more sinister than what the young man may've predicted.



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Jean Berlot
Dr. Coulmiere
Dr. Murlloppe
Stano Danciak ...
Jirí Krytinár ...
Reciting Madman
Katerina Ruzicková ...
Asylum inmate
Iva Littmanová ...
Asylum inmate
Katerina Valachová ...
Asylum inmate
Josef Kaspar ...
Insane erotomaniac
Miroslav Navrátil ...
Dream warden
Jirí Maria Sieber ...
Dream warden
Ctirad Götz ...


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 Berlot, a young man subject to a nightmare of being forced into a straitjacket by two orderlies, is befriended by a marquis. At the marquis's estate, Jean witnesses a black Mass, buries someone alive, and is invited to try preventive therapy. He's willing to enter a sanatorium because he believes he can rescue a young woman from there who has told him that the real director and staff of the clinic are locked in the basement. Jean conspires with her to set them free: the horrors have only begun. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Edgar Allan Poe + the Marquis de Sade + Jan Svankmajer = Lunacy


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Release Date:

17 November 2005 (Czech Republic)  »

Also Known As:

Lunacy  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$3,245 (USA) (11 August 2006)


$47,957 (USA) (2 February 2007)

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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Did You Know?


The official Czech submission to the 2007 Oscars in the Best Foreign Language Film category. See more »


Version of Stonehearst Asylum (2014) See more »

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User Reviews

Highly underrated Masterpiece.
29 March 2013 | by (Amsterdam) – See all my reviews

This is a very good film. By now I've seen all the films of Svankmajer, including his early shorts and later long movies. It took me some time to really appreciate his longer films since they are somewhat different from his short movies. For me personally his short films still form the basis of his work and come the closest to art. The lack of a storyline and of a conventional structure rank his shorts among the most original in cinematography. His longer films have a more traditional structure with a storyline. For that reason his longer films didn't appeal the same way to me (as his short films does) for a long time. With 'Sílení' this came to an end. The film starts with Svankmajer himself introducing the film in his own personal nihilistic style. The film itself is a mixture of a 'normal film' with actors and on the other hand the inclusion of disturbing stop motion cinema. Svankmajer's most beloved actors, the cut off Tongues (I believe they are Cow's Tongues) are seen many times, often together in a twin pair depicting scenes of disturbance, violence, sex and in general Lunacy which is the name of the film. The actors are very good, especially the person who plays the Marquise (De Sade). But also Anna Geislerová (who plays the unstable Charlotte) and Pavel Nový (Servant Dominic) (who played a main Character in 'Conspirators of Pleasure' as well) are excellent. In 'Sílení' Svankmajer seemed for the first time to have found a convincing form for his longer films. It's very balanced through out and the film has a constant feel of threat over it. Svankmajer himself introduces his film as a horror movie. And in fact it is, but in a nihilist typically Svankmajer kind of way. The horror element is not about visual shocking effects, but much more psychological since it touches deep human fears. In this perspective I place it in the same row as Polanski's great films 'The Tenant' and 'Repulsion'. The sex scenes give the film an erotic element, although in a deranged way; The theme and story are very original. The film has a pleasant weirdness, but is never cheap like many of the director's who are influenced by Svankmajer. This film get's a 9 from me.

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