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FAUST

Czech Republic / France / UK, 1994 (MIFF 1995)

Director: Jan Svankmajer

A Faust for our uncertain times from one of the world's most original filmmakers and brilliant animators. Abandon objective logic when you enter the wonderful world of Jan Svankmajer and expect a tale conjured from dreams and nightmares.

Using marionettes pixelation and stop-motion techniques along with lashings of Goethe, Marlowe and Gounod, Svankmajer cre­ates a surreal labyrinth through which his live-action characters careen, confronted at every turn by spectres from the unconscious.

Selling your soul to the devil you never get what you bargain for, and when an everyman lured off the streets of Prague (actor Petr Cepek) exchanges his for 24 years of pleasure-filled liv­ing, he soon finds himself becoming Faust in a deal that goes horribly awry. Entering into a Mephistophelean mindfield of dark magic and hysterical demons, Faust even encounters a fan­tastically grotesque claymation foetus, whose head grows to his likeness progressing through stages of aging and decay as the body remains shrunken and immature.

A caustic, acerbic retelling of a key cultural myth this potent mix of ghoulish delights and delightful ghouls is another Svankmajer tri­umph. Like his astonishing short films Dimensions of Dialogue, Down to the Cellar and his first feature Alice, Faust shifts from black humour to playful trickery while creating a profound and disturbing sense of lurking terror.

See also...

In The Cellar

Live action and animation combine to depict little girls encounter with fear down in the cellar, producing suspenseful and fantastic results . . . Jan Svankmajer has been making animation films since ... More »

Darkness, Light, Darkness

The latest offering from the great Czech animator proves that the original is always the best. ... "With this body, senses and existence, a being fills an empty room, but this existence is unsteady ... More »

Game with Stones

An animated film involving destructive stones. ... More »

The Apartment

The film is meant as a warning against the mod­ern dependencies of people, very often the obiects of our daily life which surround us will change their characteristics and turn on us. ... More »

Food

Civilisation exists on the backs of starving mil­lions, but also at the expense of future genera­tions. Civilisation survives by stuffing itself at all costs with the cannibalising of culture ... More »

LITTLE OTIK

With shades of David Lynch's Eraserhead, Jan Svankmajers Little Otik is an astonishing modern adaptation of a traditional Czech fairy-tale. Karel, the husband of a barren couple, attempts to console ... More »

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