AI NO DERRIDA

Saturday, 7 January 2012

Something of Alice

Jonathan Miller's version of Alice in Wonderland may be difficult to top, but I recently watched Czech filmaker Jan Švankmajer's Alice (Something of Alice in the Czech) (1988) and would really recommend it. It's a subversive and surreal take on the story which only loosely follows the book rather than being a strict adaptation. That said, the surreal and creepy, though also playful nature of the film seems close to the book in spirit. As the essay in the DVD package says - Švankmajer really captures the idea of adolescence as a time of trauma in this hallucinatory film.




Alice is played by a real girl in the film most of the time, except when she shrinks into a Vicorian bisque doll. The white rabbit is a taxidermied animal come to life in stop motion animation - complete with leaking sawdust stuffing. There is also a creepy selection of animals created from skeletons, a pack of animated cards and some very uncanny sock puppets.The narrator says "it's a story for children, maybe" at the beginning and this is quite correct.

5 comments:

  1. I'm very surprised it took you 'til now to see this wonderful film. Svankmajer's work is always superb, but I particularly recommend his verion of Faust.

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  2. I love this version of Alice. Nice one Andrea. Have not seen his version of Faust but def intend to have a look later today. Thanks The Thing That Should Not Be.

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  3. For some reason I haven't seen that one all the way through but yesterday I went to see Švankmajer's latest film, 'Surviving Life (Theory and Practice)' ('Prezít svuj zivot (teorie a praxe)') at a local cinema. It was made in 2010 but it seems it's only recently been released in the UK. It's very good. Here's a trailer. See it if you get the chance.

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  4. Thanks all! I'll definitely investigate his other films as well.

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  5. I won a copy of the video of this film in a competition in the Guardian – the only thing I've ever won. (They wanted to know 3 other film versions of Alice, so I just looked in Halliwell – no internet then). The complete short films are well worth looking at too.

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