“Sadly, our civilization has no time for dreams. There’s no money in them.” – Jan Svankmajer
We present a retrospective of the brilliant Czech animator Jan Svankmajer, celebrated for his blending of stop-motion animation, claymation, puppetry, and live action. The series concludes with the local premiere of his latest feature, Surviving Life. Born in 1934 in Prague, where he still lives, Svankmajer made his first film in 1964 and has gained a reputation as one of the world's foremost animators, influencing filmmakers from Tim Burton to The Brothers Quay.
Svankmajer takes inspiration from a wide range of literary sources, including Lewis Carroll, Goethe, Edgar Allen Poe, the Marquis de Sade, and Czech folk tales. His work has a deliberately raw, hand-made aesthetic (he is opposed to digital animation), and no matter how weird things get they are almost always rooted in physical reality. His films are delightfully subversive, perhaps as a response to the oppressive nature of life in Czechoslovakia before the fall of the Iron Curtain. Svankmajer is a lifelong surrealist, and believer in the power of art to liberate people from domestication by civilization.