Svankmajer Shorts | Chicago Reader

Svankmajer Shorts

Trained in puppetry and animation, Czech surrealist Jan Svankmajer has profoundly influenced both pop culture and the avant-garde in Europe," wrote Reader contributor Ted Shen, "combining drawings, graphics, cutouts, clay figures, and everyday objects into wry or bleak commentaries on the human condition. . . . The Flat (1969), one of Svankmajer's earliest shorts to feature an actor, is a Kafkaesque skit about an everyman frustrated by the morphing objects in his room. . . . In Dimensions of Dialogue (1982) clay figures kiss, make love, and dissolve into a primordial mass. . . . In Jabberwocky (1971) a bountiful wardrobe yields a series of Victorian images that are constantly deconstructed and transformed. The film is much admired (and paved the way for Svankmajer's 1987 adaptation of Alice in Wonderland), but it reveals one of the artist's shortcomings: since his private musings can signify just about anything, the deluge of visual non sequiturs can become wearisome." Also on the program: The Garden (1968), Another Kind of Love (1988), Flora (1989), Meat in Love (1989), and The Food (1992).

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