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Dimensions of Dialogue (1983)

Moznosti dialogu (original title)
Three surreal depictions of failures of communication that occur on all levels of human society.


Jan Svankmajer


Jan Svankmajer
3 wins. See more awards »


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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 devouring and regurgitating each other. 'Passionate Discourse' shows two clay figures romantically intertwined, and the problems with dealing with the end product of their passion, while 'Exhaustive Discussion' shows two animated heads playing a bizarre variant of the old scissors-paper-stone game. Written by Michael Brooke <michael@everyman.demon.co.uk>

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Release Date:

1983 (Czechoslovakia) See more »

Also Known As:

A párbeszéd lehetőségei See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Krátký Film Praha See more »
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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User Reviews

Visually entrancing, but too weird for my tastes
13 June 2007 | by ackstasisSee all my reviews

It was with a little uncertainty that I approached my first animated short film from Jan Svankmajer. When it comes to surrealism, he is considered to be one of the greatest, which is from whence my first misgiving came: I'm really not much of a fan of surrealism. Whilst I can admire the craftsmanship that went into creating a given film, I prefer a slightly more literal approach to film-making; to put it simply, I'm completely incapable of deciding whether a film is a surrealist masterpiece, or if it's just going out of its way to be weird. In Svankmajer's case, I'm willing to give him the benefit of the doubt.

The 12-minute long 'Moznosti dialogu / Dimensions of Dialogue' is divided into three distinct sections, entitled, respectively: "exhaustive discussion," "passionate discourse" and "factual conversation." In the first, a collection of heads – created in the style of Giuseppe Arcimboldo's paintings – sequentially devour each other and regurgitate the remains, eventually eliminating all variation and reducing the population to numerous copies of the single bland human. In the second, a clay couple dissolve into each other during the act of love, before quarreling over a remnant of leftover clay (suggestive of a child, most likely) and tearing each other into a frenzied pulp. In the third section, two elderly male clay heads protrude a selection of ordinary objects from their mouths (toothbrush and toothpaste; bread and spread; pencil and sharpener; shoe and shoelaces), eventually using them in every possible combination and withering themselves to fragments.

The stop-motion animation of 'Dimensions of Dialogue' is undoubtedly done very well, and the "exhaustive discussion" section has an iconic feel to it that has often been imitated. It was, however, quite repetitive, and there's only so many times that you can watch a Arcimboldo head devour another and spew forth its fragments before your interest starts to waver. The second section moves forward quite quickly, and, using the clay man and women, Svankmajer was able to convey very effectively the rage that each person was feeling, as they tore into each other's flesh with their fingernails. The third section, not unlike the first, repeated itself, I thought, one too many times, and I didn't think that so many reiterations were necessary to drive home the filmmaker's message. However, if I were to watch this film again, it would certainly be for the remarkable visuals, and I can say little to fault the wonderfully vibrant stop-motion animation.

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