7.2/10
1,048
6 user 4 critic

Zvahlav aneb Saticky Slameného Huberta (1971)

Lewis Carroll's poem is read and followed by a free-form animated depiction of images and toys from childhood, repeatedly overturned by a live cat.

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In stop-time animation, a wardrobe moves through the countryside. It arrives in a house, a child's voice recites Lewis Carroll's "Jabberwocky," and various objects, such as toys and dolls, move about, disintegrate, and play out archetypal scenes. Like Carroll's verse, the images are at once familiar and unfamiliar. A child's play suit, hanging in the wardrobe, becomes the adventure's protagonist. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

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wardrobe | toy | cat | childhood | doll | See All (18) »


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21 February 2015 (Japan)  »

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Jabberwocky  »

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Interesting and enjoyable but it caused me to wonder why Svankmajer has not progressed since 1971
30 July 2004 | by See all my reviews

As the poem Jabberwocky is read out, various toys come to life and dance all around the room and through the furniture. The only thing that seems to be able to stop their fun is a black cat who periodically turns up to overturn them or burst through them.

I saw this short film as part of a collection and I was interested in it because I had seen the very recent film Otesanek by Svankmajer and was curious to see what he had been like over 30 years ago – but more of that later. This film opens with the poem Jabberwocky being read out – this I liked because it is a rhythmic and enjoyable little piece. However the visuals bare little or no relation to the words, although this is not a major problem, just something that struck me as odd that the poem should have been selected in the first place. Instead the visuals are an enjoyable mix of toys moving and all manner of weird things occurring; I would have struggled to place this as being Czech if I hadn't known the director but it is unmistakably Eastern European in origin.

This to me was part of its problem – that I could recognise it as being Svankmajer's work. Baring in mind that the only other film I saw of his was from the late 1990's, I did have to wonder why the animation looked the same 30 years earlier and why he had not manage to adapt or mature his style over several decades – it is rare to see this as most people grow over the time. This is not so much a criticism as it is an observation but it did distract me from the short for a while.

The short itself is interesting but it is all a bit weird ad the animation is not THAT great (even for the period). It is very Eastern European in its rough nature so I guess if that's not your style then don't bother with this. However it is still worth seeing due to the sheer imagination behind it and the number of strange images it throws into your face. It may not be that good but it is interesting and enjoyable in a rough sort of way. The only thing that really bugged me was the fact that Svankmayer seems to have just stayed where he was in the 1970's – but I reserve judgment until I get the chance to see more of his work.


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