Director:Jan Svankmajer Genres:Drama, Animation Sub-Genres:Drama, Animation Studio:Kimstim Format:DVD - Black and White,Color - Closed-captioned DVD Release Date: 06/21/2005 Release Year: 2005 Run Time: 2hr 33min Screens: Black and White,Color Number of Discs: 2 SwapaDVD Credits: 2 Total Copies: 0 Members Wishing: 9 MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated) Languages:English
"This two disk set is a repackaging of the disks from The Collected Shorts of Jan Svankmajer, Vol. 1 - The Early Years (2002) and The Collected Shorts of Jan Svankmajer, Vol. 2 - The Later Years (2002) at the same price as one of the earlier disks (such a bargain!). As mentioned in other reviews of the earlier disks and as the included filmography makes clear, this is not, alas, a complete set of Svankmajer's shorts.
Animator of Prague: A BBC Documentary -------------------------------------
"In the Cellar" - A Poem ------------------------
Biographical Sketch -------------------
Title Index ----------- "
Indispensable but uneven -- and FAR from complete
Carl Tait | New York, NY USA | 05/25/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Jan Svankmajer's creepy, surreal films are unique. Though rarely gory in the usual sense, these movies have been known to disturb even the most jaded viewers, thanks largely to the disquieting use of stop-motion animation. These shorts make an excellent introduction -- or postlude -- to Svankmajer's dark feature films such as "Alice" and "Little Otik."
Svankmajer is at his best when focusing on nightmarish dream worlds: the malevolent apartment in "The Flat" or the subterranean horrors of "Down to the Cellar." When Svankmajer slips into political commentary, he becomes preachy and repetitive. "The Death of Stalinism in Bohemia" is already stale, and the dreadful "Et Cetera" is an exercise in aren't-we-clever monotony. Luckily, the lesser films don't detract from the remarkable experience of the greater ones.
One major drawback: although this pair of DVDs (formerly sold separately) call themselves "The Collected Shorts," they are very far from complete. Favorites such as Jabberwocky and Darkness-Light-Darkness are nowhere to be found (though D-L-D is included on the DVD of "Alice"). Other works such as The Last Trick, Virile Games, The Ossuary, Leonardo's Diary, and J.S. Bach: Fantasia in G Minor have previously appeared on VHS in the US or UK, but are mysteriously absent from these DVDs. Several other missing shorts have never even had a VHS release: Historia naturae, The Garden, Don Juan, The Castle of Otranto, and Another Kind of Love."
Eye-opening intro to surrealism
Douglas Deru | St. Louis, MO | 05/09/2006
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I'm only now beginning to explore anything resembling the fringes of cinema, and discs like this only make me more interested to press ahead. If you like film more visceral than intellectual and/or you enjoy warped, sometimes outrageous humor, then your $20 will be well spent on this collection.
I only give it three stars because (1) Kino could've fit a lot more content on these discs, and (2) the packaging was slapped together haphazardly; for ex the sequence of the titles on the case don't match the actual sequence inside, and the listed running times are often wayyyy off. Overall, tremendously rewarding content but due only to Svankmajer himself, not to the DVD producers."
Collection of Miracles:
Galina | Virginia, USA | 01/12/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I may say "groundbreaking", "dark", "visceral", and "superb". I may say, he looks inside my mind, takes the deepest fears that I would never want to be uncovered, turns them into the images hellishly disturbing but mesmerizing and threw them back at me. I may say, in his work, infernal visions of Bosch meet the impossible creations and repetitions of M.C Escher, meet originality, surrealism and dark humor of Luis Bunuel, meet unbearable quiet horror of Edgar Poe, and ETA Hoffman's grotesque combinations of the macabre and realism. I may say it but my words would not give you a slightest idea what you are going to face - you have to see for yourself.
Each and every short I saw were masterpieces but there are few that stand out. "Moznosti dialogu" (1982) aka "Dimensions of Dialogue" (or it could be translated as "Possibilities of Dialogue") is one of my very favorite Svankmajer's short films. It consists of three parts, "Eternal Dialog", "Passionate Dialog", and "Exhausting Dialog". When I watched it, I was thinking about Tennessee Williams' words, "All of us are locked in our loneliness like in the cage". Complete loneliness, inability to communicate, impossibility of dialog and understanding - this is quite a dark opinion of the humanity but how masterfully and wickedly funny it was presented. How incredibly unique and marvelous Svankmajer's vision is. Among many spectacular images, the clay lovemaking scene in the "Passionate Dialog" was perhaps one of the most sensual I've ever seen in the movies. As any genuine work of Art, Svankmajer's little gem fascinates a viewer on many levels. You can try to explain the images and their deep meaning or you can simply sit back and let the fantasy, Art and imagination take you to the amazing world which you will never be able to forget
"Down to the Cellar" was amazing - I also saw "Alice", Svankmajer's outstanding adaptation of Lewis Carroll's story that combines animation and live action and creates a surrealist dream universe of "Alice in Wonderland" and I think that "Down to the Cellar" is a matching piece to "Alice".
The most hilarious and in the same time, the darkest film for me was "Food". If this one would not shock you, I don't know what else would. Are we the creatures that ready to devour everything including ourselves?
Both adaptations of Poe's short stories, "The Fall of the House of Usher" and "The Pit, the Pendulum, and the Hope" are masterpieces of the unspeakable and unbearable fear that is more in the anticipation of horror than in horror itself. The visual solution for both films, the camera movements are unforgettable.
Like I said, each film is a little miracle. I only wish that one more DVD were released, the one that would contain some missing films: "Leonardo's Diary", "Another Kind of Love", "Animated Self-Portraits", and "Jabberwocky". "
Svankmajer == great. DVD prodution quality == horrible
Norman Lyon | Denver, CO United States | 04/21/2009
(3 out of 5 stars)
"The content here is great. Jan Svankmajer is a brilliant filmmaker, and this collection shows some of the wonderful imagery he puts together. If you know any of his work, this won't be a surprise to you. If you don't, it's time to look at this collection.
The bad? The production quality here is horrible. I don't have a single DVD drive/player that can read both disks. Some play the first one, others play the second. The menus are of a lower quality than I've made on DVDs I've mastered myself, using basic DVD authoring software. The paper sleeve mis-matches the titles of the shorts with the specific shorts on the disk."