Search - Lunacy on DVD

Actors: Pavel Liska, Jan Triska, Anna Geislerová, Jaroslav Dusek, Martin Huba
Director: Jan Svankmajer
Genres: Indie & Art House, Horror, Animation
UR     2007     1hr 58min

Studio: Zeitgeist Films Release Date: 02/20/2007


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Movie Details

Actors: Pavel Liska, Jan Triska, Anna Geislerová, Jaroslav Dusek, Martin Huba
Director: Jan Svankmajer
Creators: Jan Svankmajer, Dusan Kukal, Helena Uldrichová, Jaromír Kallista, Jaroslav Kucera, Edgar Allan Poe, Marquis de Sade
Genres: Indie & Art House, Horror, Animation
Sub-Genres: Indie & Art House, Horror, Animation
Studio: Zeitgeist Films
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen - Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 02/20/2007
Release Year: 2007
Run Time: 1hr 58min
Screens: Color,Widescreen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 14
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Languages: Czech
Subtitles: English

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Movie Reviews

A philosophical horror tale
Salvador Fortuny Miró | Tarragona , Spain | 12/13/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"In his introduction to the film inside the own film Jan Svankmajer compares modern societies with a lunatics assylum. The subject of " Lunacy " is essentially an ideological debate about how to rule an institution. " Basically there are two ways of managing an institution, and each equally extreme ": one looks at the absolute freedom; the other, the old-fashioned based on absolute rules and punishment. And there is also - he concludes - another one that combines both " and this is the mad-house in we're living today ". As the protagonist of the film, as artists nowadays, modern democracies seem to move between two chairs, to walk behind the fog.

Placed in the ninenteenth century rural France, " Lunacy " is freely inspired by a not very popular tale by E. A. Poe titled " The system of Dr. Tarr and Prof. Fether ", about a mental hospital ruled by their patients ( this is by lunatics ), and also by the decadentist and anticlerical criticism of the Marquis the Sade. We find too some references to the spanish filmmaker Luis Buñuel ( for instance, in the scene in which the aeseptic and sadistic lead doctor of the asylum shows to her lover the content of a bizarre box and that the spectator never get to known ) so as another tribute to Poe in the scene of the therapeutic burial. The result is a satirical and thought-provoking surreal horror tale where Svankmajer conjugates grotesque, cool stop-motion animation, kinky sex, gothic horror imaginary, disturbing analogies, circular nigthmares, lunatics and meat puppets to built up a pessimistic political parable about mankind alienation and indecisiveness in industrializied societies.

I've heard some commentaries by Svankamajer fans dissapointed about " Lunacy " because it has not many animation sequences, as frequently many of their followers wait to find in his movies. It's true: the animated scenes, inserted in the film as macabre vignettes of surrealist imagination or sarcastic and philosophical graphic commentaries, hardly reach to be twenty minutes in all the whole film, but this doesn't avoid to place Svankmajer's last feature-length film as one of his finest and most subversive works.

Another disturbing and exquisite work by this genial and dark alchemist of the surreal.

Madness on madness
wiredweird | Earth, or somewhere nearby | 02/29/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)

"How to describe Svankmajer's films? They taunt the sense of reason, showing you that rationality doesn't go nearly all the places that imagination does, or that madness does.

Jean Berlot finds himself in a mental hospital, where the patients seem to be in charge and the keepers are just as mad. It hardly seems to matter who's on which side of the locked door. He witnesses bizarre transformations of people and chickens, satanic masses filled with thundering blasphemy, and torments being called treatments. Or does he? Which of these events appear only in his own mind?

It's never quite clear, and baffling interludes of stop-animation give only indistinct hints. There's a commentary and narrative in Svankmajer's creeping masses of flesh, throbbing but inanimate tissue, and dancing beef tongues, but for the life of me I can't be sure what it is.

I've liked other of Svankmajer's works better. Alice carries a clearer story, winding itself in a loose orbit around Lewis Carroll's beloved classic. Some of his shorts seem at least as clever and far more legible. Still, this appeals to a dark sense of wonder. If you consider linear storytelling to be over-rated, you might find a lot to enjoy in this one.

-- wiredweird"
Creative Madness
gam | MEXICO CITY | 10/16/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Absolutely great movie, what else to expect from Svankmajer's creativeness and surreal imagery. Now add to the mixture: 2 Poe's obscure stories and De Sade's perversion. Wow, blasphemy, insanity, sex, introversion, revolution, are a few words to describe this excellent movie, all with the artistic and emotive touch from the master. I really don't want to extend the review, it will be much better if you watch it and came with your own personal interpretation, and don't loose a piece of mind in the process."
This movie owns your soul
M. Waugh | usa | 03/27/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I was introduced to Jan Svankmajer's work with a feature film called "Conspirators of Pleasure" which was a movie with no dialogue and dealt with masturbation. That said, I fell in love with the czech surrealists work and animation.
"Lunacy" is another gem (this time with dialogue!) and is based loosely on the works of Poe and the Marquis de Sade (but you can tell that from reading the dvd jacket, you silly monkey!)
and I know that there is dialogue in his other films such as "Faust" and "Alice", but this film seems to rely more on the words then the visuals.
From all of his films I've seen, this could very well be my favorite.
I know this is just my opinion and everything, but you owe it to yourself to purchase this film. Watch it, Love it, and let your friends borrow it and enjoy it's awesomeness!