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The Cabinet of Jan Svankmajer1984

  • 4.1
This early film by renowned animators Stephen and Timothy Quay is structured as a series of little lessons in perception, taught by a puppet simulacrum of Jan Svankmajer (whose head is an opened book) to a doll (whose head the master empties of dross and refills with a similar open book). Each of the nine chapters “refers variously to the importance of objects in Svankmajer’s work, their transformation and bizarre combination through specifically cinematic techniques, the extraordinary power of the camera to 'make strange,' the influence of Surrealism on Svankmajer’s work and the subversive and radical role of humor. Taken out of the context of the original VISIONS television documentary on Svankmajer (for which they served as illustration/commentary), these vignettes might at first sight seem a trifle bewildering. They ideally need to be viewed more than once before they begin to work effectively as quirky introductions to the Svankmajer universe. Then, however, they emerge as surprisingly charming and delightful excursions into this astonishing (and often deeply disturbing) director's work.” – Julian Petley

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2 members like this review

love the brother Quay's body of work! they screened this at their Wexner gallery lecture, and they even signed flim & flam my twin marionette!

Member Reviews (5)

love the brother Quay's body of work! they screened this at their Wexner gallery lecture, and they even signed flim & flam my twin marionette!

2 members like this review
9906ff2368f28494251c010dd5ca2eb4?default=https%3a%2f%2fd3uc4wuqnt61m1.cloudfront.net%2fassets%2favatars%2fmale%2favatar m 0064
top reviewer

Playing with animated and static Archimbaldo (sp?) in 2 and 3 dimensional surfaces with Cornell's boxes being full of box drawers and an Escher mirrored sphere quietly playing in the corner. Obvious illusions of 3D among the 2D with eyes tricked in all possible directions. I think it was appropriate that Time Warner's downloading speed first jerked slower and faster and then, around the 9 minute mark, gave up. Tricks on the persistence of vision fading into still action. Did you bribe the network to add the ultimate layer of illusion.

1 member likes this review
9f1f2077d60b214c55e0a0092370f8a6?default=https%3a%2f%2fd3uc4wuqnt61m1.cloudfront.net%2fassets%2favatars%2fmale%2favatar m 0031
top reviewer

ABBO FABBO!!! MORE SVANKMAJER, PLEASE

77fdb7fed0480f05741933da0c094d40?default=https%3a%2f%2fd3uc4wuqnt61m1.cloudfront.net%2fassets%2favatars%2ffemale%2favatar f 0053
top reviewer

Wonderful

0e5539172ba77355e79a9db0e1de45b7?default=https%3a%2f%2fd3uc4wuqnt61m1.cloudfront.net%2fassets%2favatars%2fmale%2favatar m 0083
top reviewer

I've watched this one often, with delight and terror, one of the classics. It can even make you chuckle through the transfer of identify portrayed in the narrative.