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16 Jun 2011 - 25 Jun 2011

Directorspective: Jan Svankmajer

A retrospective of one of the world's foremost avant garde filmmakers. Svankmajer‘s surreal, deliciously dark mixes of live action and animation have influenced filmmakers from Terry Gilliam and Tim Burton to The Brothers Quay. Jan Svankmajer will present the screening of Alice & Et Cetera which will be followed by a Screen Talk on 16 June. The season includes further two double bills: Little Otik / Darkness-Light-Darkness, and Surviving Life / Dimensions of Dialogue.

Diretrospective: Jan Švankmajer

Regarded as one of the world's foremost avant garde filmmakers, Jan Švankmajer is renowned for his unique vision and limitless imagination. From his first film in 1964, his singularly surreal, deliciously dark mixes of live action, animation and pioneering sound have influenced filmmakers from Terry Gilliam and Tim Burton to The Brothers Quay. Born in 1934 in Prague, where he still lives and works, Švankmajer has been described as a "grand master not just of innovative animation techniques but of life itself".

Thu 16 Jun 7.30pm

ScreenTalk: Jan Švankmajer
The great Czech filmmaker joins us to open our summer of animation with a screening of Alice, followed by a Q&A with Peter Hames

Alice PG

Švankmajer’s award winning first feature length film presents an uncannily dark interpretation of Lewis Carroll’s well known fantasy world. This surrealist inspired combination of live action and stop motion animation sees Alice juxtaposed with a selection of eerie stuffed toys and animals. Topsy-turvy Carroll-esque absurdity meets Švankmajer's own-brand of grotesquery in this much imitated, never bettered gem.
Czechoslovakia 1988 Dir. Jan Švankmajer 84 min
Et Cetera
Vintage 2D Švankmajer, demonstrating both his masterful use of sound and sense of humour as an animated figure learns to use wings of increasing sizes, train a circus creature and the importance of doors.
Czechoslovakia 1966 Dir. Jan Švankmajer 8 min.


Sun 19 Jun 3.45pm

Surviving Life (Theory & Practice) 15*
A married man (Václav Helsus) falls in love with the woman of his dreams – literally. Sent to a shrink to unravel what this could mean - in whose office portraits of Freud and Jung provide pithy commentary on the proceedings - he taps an unconcious world both playful and painful. Billed as a psycohoanalytical comedy, this dazzlingly inventive mix of animation and live action wowed at Venice 2010 and features a delightful cameo by the great director himself.
Czech Rep, Slovakia, Japan 2010 Dir. Jan Švankmajer 105 min.
Dimensions of Dialogue
This iconic, Berlin Golden Bear winning three part exploration of communication introduced the world to the mind of Jan Švankmajer, and was counted by Terry Gilliam as one of the best animated films of all time.
Czechoslovakia 1983 Dir. Jan Švankmajer 12 min.

Sat 25 Jun 3.45pm

Little Otik (Otesanek)15
A childless couple longing for a baby and a little girl in need of a friend get more than they wished for when an inanimate stump of wood takes on a disturbing life of its own. Based on a Czech folk tale about a monstrous creature with an all-consuming appetite, Švankmajer’s gleeful horror-comedy sees this malevolent Pinocchio’s new Gepetto’s face both the downside of parenting, and the terrifying consequences of tampering with natural order.  
Czechoslovakia 2000 Dir. Jan Švankmajer 132 min.  
Darkness-Light- Darkness (Tma/Svetlo/Tma)
Clever, quirky, funny and surreal, this fascinating film sees a claymation body gradually construct itself from just a hand when it’s other component parts come calling.
Czechoslovakia 1990 Jan Švankmajer 7 min.


Barbican Centre, London EC2Y, Box Office: 020 7638 8891


From: 16 Jun 2011
To: 25 Jun 2011


Czech Center is a coorganizer of the event

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