Moznosti dialogu (1983) Poster

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Impossibilities of Dialogue
Galina19 November 2006
"Moznosti dialogu" (1982) aka "Dimensions of Dialogue" (or it could be translated as "Possibilities of Dialogue" is one of my very favorite Svankmajer's short films. It consists of three parts, "Eternal Dialog", "Passionate Dialog", and "Exhausting Dialog". When I watched it, I was thinking about Tennessee Williams' words, "All of us are locked in our loneliness like in the cage". Complete loneliness, inability to communicate, impossibility of dialog and understanding - this is quite a dark opinion of the humanity but how masterfully and wickedly funny it was presented. How incredibly unique and marvelous Svankmajer's vision is. Among many spectacular images, the clay lovemaking scene in the "Passionate Dialog" was perhaps one of the most sensual I've ever seen in the movies. As any genuine work of Art, Svankmajer's little gem fascinates a viewer on many levels. You can try to explain the images and their deep meaning or you can simply sit back and let the fantasy, Art and imagination take you to the amazing world which you will never be able to forget
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Think harder.
Warning: Spoilers
Moznosti Dialogu can be translated as Dimensions of Dialogue or Possibilities of Dialogue. In either translation the idea that there is a depth of interpretation within the exchanging of ideas remains. The three "act" film by the casual and uninterested eye is assumed to be beyond reason and seen as merely a smörgåsbord of materials arranged and rearranged to create a stunning art show. However, to those who understand that in the time it was made in Czechoslovakia that there was no purpose for purposelessness-no time to be frivolous-the film is speaking volumes about culture, the plight of humanity, and politics. The very fact that most people are stumped or drawn to simple interpretations when asked to explain it means that Svankmajer, a modern-day Melies, did exactly what he set out to do. Unable to risk speaking openly against the Socialist regime, he had to work his magic under the guise of Dadaism and Surrealism.

The three parts, according to their titles, deal with different types of communication: discussion, discourse, and conversation. The theme is destruction resulting from interaction.

The first and most cryptic part is entitled Exhaustive Discussion, and it explores the interplay of three revolutions: the agricultural, industrial, and informational. Although the only one that is usually seen as a revolution is the industrial revolution, I believe that they are all revolutions in their own right for the changes that were implemented and their intermingling with one another had a significant global impact.

Materials are arranged in the shape of a human profile. There is one comprised of vegetables and grains, another of tools and machinery, and a third of writing and calculation materials. The first collision is between the face of agriculture and the face of industry which march towards one another, chomping hungrily, amidst triumphant battle-like music, which set the musical tone for the rest of the film. This continues a few more times, as each face's materials progressively break down into mush.

Eventually, these revolutions become an indistinguishable pastiche of food, machinery, and intellectual tools. What results from their regurgitations is a realistic clay face. Finally, instead of creating an opponent, it creates duplicates of itself, procreating alone. The idea is that through the amalgamation of these staples of our evolution we see ourselves as refined humans, although to progress we had to fight, coalesce. But does the end justify the means? Did the exhaustive discussion bring about progress or was something raw lost in the merging and streamlining of each unique form of sustenance? Of course, another more timely interpretation could be anti-socialist propaganda. Through the merging of separated industries, real people will emerge. It is inevitable that a battle will occur when people are divided and seen as mere faces of production. Thus, only through a cataclysm will humanity prevail as such. The fighting will later be replaced with a focus on procreation rather than toil.

The second and least cryptic part is entitled Passionate Discourse, and it explores the interplay of relationships in a literal manner. The type of relationship is what the multiple interpretations can be based upon. It could be a romantic relationship, however I am apprehensive about seeing as such because it seems too easy. Another likely option is that it is a creative collaboration expressed by the metaphor of a romantic relationship. As I wonder how this part could be speaking out like the others against Socialism, I know that the last interpretation I can muster up might be a stretch.

The romantic relationship theory works well enough to satisfy most people's curiosity. A man and a woman make love, a child is born, neither wants the responsibility, and their fighting leads them into a physical confrontation in which they destroy each other. A deeper look reveals that this could show us a creative endeavor gone wrong. Neither would like to claim the finished article, and in their disgust over creating it, forget all their original feelings in order to vent their frustrations. Or could it be that this is a metaphor for powers coming together with apparently similar interests, reveling in oneiric ideologies, what they see as their brilliance, and then when they realize they have created something that is apart from them, different, neither want to deal with it. They try to ignore it, and when they cannot, when it cries out for help they pass the buck to the other collaborator. Eventually, when they see they cannot rid themselves of the nuisance of the unexpected aftermath of their irresponsible political intimacy, they rage against each other until nothing-no one-is left.

The third seems the most likely because I must continue to consider the political problems roiling within the Czech Socialist Republic. In addition, the title adds a tone less indicative of love. Passionate Discourse signifies a formal yet emotional exchanging and debating of intellectual ideas. That sounds like politics to me.

The final piece, a middle-ground of oracularity, shows two male heads made of clay. It is called Factual Conversation.

The two busts begin by supplying each other with what the other needs. This continues smoothly with various combinations until they switch places. Then everything goes wrong and they do not supply each other with what is needed. They switch places a second time and unfortunately, each supply each other with the same thing. They then begin withering. By the end, they have both collapsed in exhaustion.

What is being said is that when people are assigned to take on tasks that others were fine doing to begin with, they will not be as successful, if at all. In trading places, harmony and, thus, productivity is lost. This relates to Socialist ideology because the state controls what a person does and does not do for work, negating the individual's talent or penchant for a particular task.

If you think harder and listen more intently, you will hear what is being whispered.
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Svankmajer's Chatterboxes
Graham Greene25 March 2008
This is a rather interesting short film from legendary animator/filmmaker Jan Svankmajer that looks at the notions of communication breakdown and personal alienation. It is a completely stop-motion piece of animation; offering something of a social parable broken into three individual chapters. The sequences include Exhaustive Discussion, Passionate Discussion and finally, Factual Conversation. Each segment is supposed to represent a satirical comment on various aspects of communication breakdown within modern Czech culture, though whether or not you choose to follow this particular interpretation will be entirely down to you.

Regardless of the message, which could be viewed as somewhat simplistic in relation to Svankmajer's more engaging works - such as The Flat (1968), Jabberwocky (1971), Alice (1988) and Conspirators of Pleasure (1996) - it is the animation that remains the truly impressive factor in this film's overall design, with the director creating some wonderful characters and scenarios out of a variety of old, inanimate objects. If you are a fan of the bizarre, provocative and imaginative world that this particular filmmaker creates, then Dimensions of Dialog (1982) (or more fittingly, Possibilities of Dialog, given both the design and thematic subtext) should be required viewing.
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It looked like it must have taken years to finish this amazing film
MartinHafer12 October 2008
I have seen several films by Jan Svankmajer and while I must admit that I don't usually love his films, this one truly is amazing and not nearly as creepy as some. All this films are truly amazing and take stop-motion to an incredible (and creepy) level. For example, his version of Alice in Wonderland is so disturbing, I could see it making kids afraid to sleep at night! Here in MOZNOSTI DIALOGU, the images are still amazingly weird but fortunately the "creepy factor" is less and you are left feeling in awe over the time and effort to make each of the three segments of the film. All three are practically impossible to adequately summarize--especially given the space limits here on IMDb. So instead I'll just say that I have never seen a stop-motion film that was done as expertly or in such a fascinating way. All have a similar theme (communication), but it's easy to miss beneath all the weirdness. Suffice to say that you should just watch these amazing films and just absorb all the artistry and oddness for yourself.
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shawn jurado11 June 2008
OK the part of the movie where there were things eating each other was really cool, and I wish I knew how long it took for those effects to be done. I saw some symbolism in the characters that were eating each other. I think the character with all the books and school supplies represented a part of our culture of people that took the extra step, and continued school and career. And the one with all the food and kitchen supplies represented all the women that didn't continue school and became home makers, and the one with all the tools represent the men that didn't continue school and represent the workign class of people. And the actions show how they sometimes clash. I also Liked the clay man and woman, and how they begin to fight when neither want their creation. It kinda reminded me of that guy that was picked last to play kick ball in school, and how no one wanted him on his or her team.
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Weirdly captivating short film
Warning: Spoilers
First of all, don't be scared that it says language Czech on the title page. There is no audible dialog and people from all countries and origins can effortlessly enjoy this short film. Or I should say "these short films" as you get three for the price of one.

The first is the longest, but at the same time the sequence that interested me the least. It starts with two strange creatures going against each other, one consists of fruit, the other mostly of metal. I assume it's a symbolism of nature vs. technology. The figures merge and the final result spits out a new creation, which goes against the result of the merger and so it goes on and on... You could probably analyze for hours the way the creatures keep looking after their transformations, but you'd almost have to watch the film in slow-motion to really catch all the details and at some point it just felt repetitive to me. The speed, so much happening in so little time, reminded me a bit of the works of current animator PES, although the style is obviously completely different.

The second appealed to me more. We see a male and a female creature falling in love and Svankmajer here depicts one of the most beautiful sequences of actual physical lovemaking I've ever seen in animation. Very well done. It's almost erotically stimulating. Unfortunately, the result separates the two and catastrophe ensues shortly afterward. The final part is a nice animated display of how communication works, how effortless things can be when you are on the same layers, but also how destructive the lack of congruence can be.
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interesting twist on dialogue
icu2r4me21 December 2008
Warning: Spoilers
Dimensions of Dialogue, directed by Jan Svankmajer is a very interesting and amazing film. It is so creative and I can only imagine the hours it took to set up each frame. It is created during the year's right after WWII, an era where a director had to be very careful of the content of his or her film because it could cost them their life. The film is comprised of three different shorts each depicting a form of communication to be interpreted by the viewer as to their thoughts and feelings.

I am not sure how I interpret the fist one, which shows fruit devouring and regurgitating fruit turning into kitchen utensils doing the same thing and ending with writing paraphernalia repeating the process. My original thoughts were of progression; things that do not last very long, the fruit, to things that can be around for a time, but eventually rust or break, the utensils, to the written word, which if allowed to, can be around for hundreds of years.

The second short probably touched me more than the other two because of the way I interpreted it. It shows two clay figures, man and woman, and how at first are reluctant or hesitant of each other and then become passionate. As a consequence of this passion a third thing is created and how they deal or don't deal with it is so true of many humans today. The thought is not always there of the outcome nor having the mind to rule the will of desire strong enough to accept what has happened. The third depiction was in my opinion, a play on politics where you had these two heads more or less competing to see who could out maneuver the other. At first things seemed to be interchangeable but it became apparent that each had its' own individuality.

Over all it was a very interesting concept with just the score and the pictures as the dialogue and each viewer to interpret as they will.
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Incredibly Innovative Animation!
Melahn Frierson10 June 2008
Jan Svankmager's "Dimensions of Dialogue" is a collection of short films made up of stop-motion photography, live action, and animation. In the first act, Exhaustive Discussion, two heads made of all sorts of food and utensils are reduced to chunks and pieces through unique stop-motion animation. The heads devour and regurgitate each other into new forms over and over in a apologue of Evolution until we have clay heads continuously devouring and regurgitating. In the second act, Passionate Discourse, the two heads have become male and female, fall in love, and have sensual sex where they blend together. When they revert back to man and women there exists a needy lump of clay in between them, seemingly their child. Neither wants to care for the child and they begin to throw the lump back and forth at one another. The fight continues to escalate until they have virtually destroy one another. In the final act, Factual Conversation, two new heads appear-those of middle-aged men-and they begin spitting out and sucking back into their mouths various objects, interacting with one another through physical use of their tongues to manipulate the various objects for their dual benefit. Their exchanges become increasingly irrational, finally ending in destruction. Through use of human forms which are dismantled, scattered, merged and then weirdly constructed, "Dimensions of Dialogue" serves as a visually entertaining pessimistic study about the types of dialogue people have with one another, and the way that these dialogues can go horribly wrong. Some feel that it is Svankmajer's greatest film, and one of the most astounding animated shorts ever made. Whether that's true or not, his films have had a huge influence on modern avant-garde and stop-motion animators, as well as influencing the likes of Tim Burton and the Brothers Quay, and it is a film well worth watching.
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Images of Dialogue
isabelfrost9 June 2008
Warning: Spoilers
This film questions the society of the time with powerful images. These animations portray ideas and beliefs without the use of dialogue. The first piece questions the society and the new level of the industrial age. His second piece is a portrayal of a man and a women couple. They start off with love and create a third entity. This leads to hatred and complete destruction. The last piece takes on the job of two heads. They start with complimentary jobs. As they stray from their natural rhythm they are no longer able to perform well. This lead to total destruction. This could be a take on communism and the controlling government of the time. There are many ways to analyze this work of art but even if one is not looking for meaning the skilled technique of Svankmajor is inspiring just in terms of his form.
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Funny, Creative, Smart and Artistic.
jasonsteinbuchel16 December 2008
Warning: Spoilers
Warning: may contain spoilers.

Jan Svankmajer is an enlightening, funny and an intelligent director. His shorts are simply genius and entertaining. The most fascinating thing about his shorts is their meaning. All of the shorts are filled with metaphors, deep philosophy and psychology. It is great how Svankmajer can represent political and family type issues using simple objects or clay figures. It might take a while to understand what the artist really says, but one can certainly come up with a valid explanation. Most of his shorts are self-interpreted. Another words, a person A might understand it differently from person B. It was a tremendous watching experience.
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Visually entrancing, but too weird for my tastes
ackstasis13 June 2007
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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Truly Amazing
mjk6108919 December 2008
This is hands down one of the coolest and most impressive animated shorts I have ever seen. Divided into three parts, each is equally well made and absorbing. Aesthetically speaking, this was probably light years ahead of its time--a beautiful ancestor of filmmakers like Tim Burton. The messages can be hard to decipher but there is a good deal of political commentary here as well, especially the third one which speaks strongly and poignantly against Communism. Even if you don't quite know what each is saying (the first still confuses me) they are wonderful to simply watch. Beautiful and fluid. It's amazing that he was even able to get away with creating these shorts in Eastern Europe at the time without being killed by the government. If you have a chance, watch this movie. You will not regret it.
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Visual Richness, Intellectual Dullness
tedg27 October 2002
Warning: Spoilers
Spoilers herein.

Svankmejer's work is a rather brutal battle between his stupid ideas about society and his incredibly rich visual imagination. Here that battle is its most obvious. The `moral' is childish. The visuals are terrific. If you can stand the former, the latter is quite worth your time.

Ted's Evaluation -- 2 of 4: Has some interesting elements.
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truly a possibility if it comes from Svankmajer
Lee Eisenberg29 August 2006
We should all know by now that Czech animator Jan Svankmajer is the master of the weird (sorry, Terry Gilliam, but this guy beat you to the punch). With "Moznosti dialogu", he goes all out as food and utensils eat each other, clay figures have a most unusual experience kissing each other...more tricks follow.

What's the point of all these images? Who knows. One could try to analyze it - and probably get a headache from doing so - but I'd say that the real point is to get enthralled. Either way, this short flick truly has Svankmajer written all over it. You could be deaf and the whole thing would still be fascinating. So definitely "Czech" it out.
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Animation art
filmhistorycritc9 June 2008
These short films were very visually appealing, as you watch pieces of food and clay be formed to the audiences own interpretation. It must of taken days to create a film purely made up of objects, which in every detail you can see in it's impressive flow to the animation of the film. I really enjoyed the interaction between the two clay humans and the message they were trying to make through the interaction of both because it can be taken in many different ways, which is the purpose of art; to make one think outside of the box. Jan Svankmajer's "Dimensions of Dialogue" was created in 1982, and was composed of three short films in which were purely animation. I liked how different it was to many other films in the 1980s and it really set itself apart from many of the other films out there at that moment in time.
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