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Jan Svankmajer

“As we know, folktales are old myths retold. What myth is hidden in the tale of Little Otik? A childless couple rebels against fate and creates, from nature, a child. They literally extract the secret of creation. For this rebellion against the natural order they suffer a bitter punishment, directed not only against themselves, but against those around them. As we can see, we have touched on one of the basic myths of this civilization: the myth of Adam and Eve, or, if you wish, a myth analogous to that of Faust. I think that now, after the mapping of the human genome, such myths are becoming increasingly relevant.” One of the great Czech filmmakers, Jan Svankmajer was born in 1934 in Prague where he still lives. He trained at the Institute of Applied Arts from 1950 to 1954 and then at the Prague Academy of Performing Arts (Department of Puppetry). He soon became involved in the Theatre of Masks and the famous Black Theatre, before entering the Laterna Magika Puppet Theatre where he first encountered film. In 1970, he met his wife, the surrealist painter Eva Svankmajerová, and the late Vratislav Effenberger, the leading theoretician of the Czech Surrealist Group, which Svankmajer joined and of which he still remains a member. Svankmajer made his first film in 1964 and for over 30 years has made some of the most memorable and unique animated films ever made, gaining a reputation as one of the world’s foremost animators, and influencing filmmakers from Tim Burton to The Brothers Quay. His brilliant use of claymation reached its apotheosis with the stunning 1982 film DIMENSIONS OF DIALOGUE. In 1987, Svankmajer completed his first feature film, ALICE, a characteristically witty and subversive adaptation of Alice in Wonderland, and with the ensuing feature films FAUST, CONSPIRATORS OF PLEASURE, and LITTLE OTIK (Otesánek) Svankmajer has moved further away from his roots in animation towards live-action filmmaking, though his vision remains as strikingly surreal and uncannily inventive as ever.

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Alice

$21.95 | 91 minutes

(1988) - Director

Disney + Buuel = Svankmajer's ALICE." An unusual dramatization of a classic children's story, from Czech master animator Jan Svankmajer. This loose retelling of Lewis Carroll's "Alice in Wonderland" dives headlong into the story's more&hellip…

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Lunacy

$23.95 | 118 minutes

(2006) - Director, Production Designer

This is a largely live-action film from the legendary Czech filmmaker Jan Svankmeyer, best known for his brilliant, twisted animation. The dark LUNACY is in the same vein as that work, an allegorical "philosophical horror movie" influenced&hellip…

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The Collected Shorts of Jan Svankmajer: 2 Disc Set

$23.95 | 0 minutes

(0000) - Director

Artists including Terry Gilliam, Tim Burton, and the Brothers Quay have all admitted to being inspired by surrealist filmmaker Jan Svankmajer's dream-like images. Using a mixture of puppetry, claymation, live-action, and stop-motion animation&hellip…

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