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 man sits down to watch a football match, which seems to consist of the players being violently mutilated in various inventive ways. The players then leave the football pitch and invade ... 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 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 »
Part animation, part archival exploration this short film will take you to the moon, and back (and quite possibly beyond). Yet, for all mankind's fascination we still know very little about... See full summary »
SURVIVING LIFE is my first Svankmajer film. I'm not sure it was the ideal place to start, because it doesn't seem to be a very accessible type of movie. The director stars as himself, playing a man in an unhappy marriage who's haunted by dreams of a beautiful woman. To that end, he begins visiting a psychiatrist, and that's where the fun really begins.
The most arresting, and original thing, about the production is the animation. The characters are animated via stills moved through stop-motion, and it's a unique experience, one that brought to mind the old days of MONTY PYTHON. With this being a surreal film, there's plenty of surrealist humour, mostly involving creatures with human heads or humans with animal heads.
The story is where the film lets itself down a bit, because it doesn't really seem to be about much. There's no sense of pace or narrative structure, just endless repetition in the elaborate dream sequences and the real-life stuff, which is just as weird. The humour works, the jokes are funny, but the script isn't. By the end, I found it all slightly tiresome and wondered if it might have worked better as a short.
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