Friday, 3 December 2010

The Cabinet of Jan Svankmajer (1984) by The Brothers Quay...

'Impressions of the work and creative philosophy of the Czech animator Jan Svankmajer... The Cabinet of Jan Svankmajer, Prague's Alchemist of Film began life as an hour-long documentary for Channel 4's esoteric late-night film strand Visions about the work of the great Czech animator, filmmaker and card-carrying Surrealist artist. The programme was made up of extracts from Svankmajer's work interspersed with analysis from critics, art historians and Surrealists, linked by nine animated sequences by the Brothers Quay. These links were subsequently joined together and released to cinemas as a separate 14-minute short.' (Michael Brooke, BFI Screenonline).

This one's been on the back burner for a while and i've only just decided to watch it for the first time. Just the thought of mentioning the Brothers Quay and Jan Svankmajer in the same piece of work, for me anyway, is a heavenly one, although i'm not sure their pieces of work would be allowed passed the heavenly gates. The Cabinet of Jan Svankmajer wasn't the easiest animation to understand, however, for the beatifully detailed and stylised environments and unique characters, it's definitely worth a watch. You may recognise some of the pieces from previous Svankmajer animations as well as the doll, which has a similar resemblance to one of the Brothers Quay's previous pieces of work. Straight away, you are able to spot an animation from the Brothers Quay, and this animation is no exception, integrating everything we have come to expect from them. Despite my lack of understanding of what was happening, The Cabinet of Jan Svankmajer is worth watching for the wonderful characters and environments alone.

Here it is:

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