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Jan Švankmajer

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This film director, screenwriter and artist is one of the most outstanding Czech filmmakers. He has occupied a place among the elite of Czech animated film ever since he made his first work. This is primarily due to his very original and distinctive authorial style. Svankmajer is not only influenced by surrealism; he is a surrealist.

He originally trained as a puppet-theater director and initially began working primarily in theater. He got into film through collaborating with Alfréd Radok on early Laterna Magika productions. Since then, he has chiefly devoted himself to animated film.

His debut, Poslední trik pana Schwarzewalda a pana Edgara (known in English as The Last Trick), was made in 1964. Due to his discomfiting and complicated view of art and the world, Švankmajer was predestined to be a troublesome figure for the communist dictatorship. Nevertheless, thanks to the fact that he kept getting a bigger and bigger response abroad, he eventually found a way to realize his vision. Besides short films, Jan Švankmajer has also shot several combined feature films, including Lekce Faust (Faust), Spiklenci slasti (Conspirators of Pleasure) and Otesánek (Greedy Guts).

Important films:

  • 1983 – Možnosti dialogu (Dimensions of Dialogue)
  • 1987 – Něco z Alenky (Alice) – a feature film based on the book by Lewis Carroll
  • 1994 – Lekce Faust (Faust) – a feature film based on the themes of the popular Faust story
  • 2000 – Otesánek (Greedy Guts) – winner of a Czech Lion award for direction
  • 2005 - Šílení (Lunacy)


Added: 11.12.2009

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