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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...

Death of Stalinism in Bohemia

A condensed imaginative survey of Czechoslova­kia's 42 years under communist rule-as seen through the eyes and mind of surrealist Jan Svankmajer. ... More »

ALICE

Alice sits in her room surrounded by toys and reads Lewis Carroll's story, which transports her, too, into a Wonderland ... Jan Svankmajer, the Czech master of animation, has fulfilled a lifetime ... More »

Game with Stones

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

Pendulum, The Pit and Hope

Two tales by Edgar Allan Poe and Villiers de L'Isle Adam provided the inspiration for the story of human suffering and people's indomitable hope. The combined film method ... used and subtle art ... More »

LUNACY

“What could be more natural than cult director Jan Svankmajer pairing the poetic twins of decadence, Edgar Allan Poe and the Marquis de Sade? Combining live action with the Czech director's ... 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 »

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