Tuesday, June 05, 2007

British Film Institute - Jan Svankmajer Season

This month the BFI is showing a range of Jan Svankmajer films and talks.

Jan Svankmajer Montage

Jan Svankmajer at BFI

The films of the Czech animator Jan Svankmajer have long been a fascination for me, I saw Alice when I was a kid when it was shown on Channel 4. At the time I did not realise who made it an if they had made anything else. I think the fact it was a little scary appealed to me as a child. I'm not the only person who were slightly disturbed by about these films, some of his early films were banned when they were first. His films also influence other film makers including the secretive Brothers Quay who made The Cabinet of Jan Svankmajer an animated analysis of his work.

The Torch Bearer

Those who attended last year's London International Animation Festival will know that Vaclav Svankmajer, the son of Jan is also making some excellent films. The "Torchbearer" (Svetlonos) made in 2005 is 25 minutes of glorious stop motion. Although there are some parallels, Vaclav has developped his own style of thought provoking animation. His models and sets are more real than sureal but the plots and actions of his characters are still quite nightmarish. I look forward to more films (of any technique) from Vaclav.

1 comment:

FleaCircusDirector said...

I attended this even last night and the three speakers themes of collage, the human puppet and cabinets of curiosities gave an excellent insight into the art work and films of Jan Svankmajer. The influences of Arcimboldo and Rudolf II's collections were mentioned as was a brief history of Jan's connections with Mask and Puppet Theatres and the underground surealists. This was followed with a discussion covering a wide range of topics. The discussion ended up with brief comments on the sound and humour in his works. A quick show of hands showed that animators out numbered the art theorists, philisophers and psychologists.