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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