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..fascinating, threatening and surreal! Jan Švankmajer Retrostrospective in Dresden

 

A series of screenings of remarkable feature films by Czech surrealist, artist and animator Jan Švankmajer is set to open on Wednesday, February 2, 2011, in Dresden's Thalia theatre. The series runs until April 2, and is organized by Czech Film Center in cooperation with the German Institute of Animated Film (DIAF).

 

Jan Švankmajer's cinematic adaptations are inspired by the "visionaries of consciousness," Lewis Carroll, Edgar Allen Poe and Marquis de Sade. The series kicks off on February 2 with his first feature film, Alice, from 1988. The movie was shot in the Czech Republic during the period when Jan Švankmajer was officially banned from filmmaking, and was made as his first German-British co-production.

 

The film tells the story of Alice, who finds herself in a fascinating and at the same time threatening world haunted and inhabited by bizarre creatures and objects. Švankmajer does not romanticize childhood as might be expected, but sticks to the dream logic of Lewis Carroll's famed Alice in Wonderland. The director magically combines animation and actress Kristýna Kohoutová's dramatic talent.

 

His second movie, Faust, which will be screened on February 16, adapts the Czech  literary classic. Here Švankmajer combines various animation techniques with drama and life-size puppets, harkening back to the start of this versatile Czech artist's career in the art of puppetry.

 

"The film series is like an appetizer," project co-organizers Andre Eckardt (DIAF) and Jana Černik (Czech Film Center) say in the spirit of Jan Švankmajer. "The main course - an exhibition of collages made during the filming of his latest feature, Surviving Life (Theory and Practice) - will be served in April. The exhibition will introduce his methods to Dresden audiences. We believe that this will be an intense experience."

All films will be presented by Andre Eckardt of the German Institute of Animated Film (DIAF).

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