Movie Review: Švankmajer's latest, a look into lunacy...
Starring Jan Tříska, Pavel Liška, Anna Geislerová
Unsubtle, at times unpleasant but possessed of the courage of its very disquieting convictions, Šilení shuffles Edgar Allan Poe and the Marquis de Sade into surrealist master Jan Švankmajer’s deck of dark and troubling things to unsettling and often mesmerizing effect. Jean (Pavel Liška), a melancholy naif with a morbid fear of asylums, stumbles into the clutches of an aristocratic libertine (a splendid Jan Tříska), whose black masses and blasphemous musings repulse and fascinate him. The marquis introduces Jean to a nutty psychiatrist (Jaroslav Dušek) who claims he can cure the young man’s phobia at his sanitarium; Jean agrees to commit himself to be near a pretty nurse (Aňa Geislerová) who is either a damsel in distress or a psychotic nympho. And then things get weird.
Švankmajer, whose alchemical mix of live action and animation has influenced filmic fantasists from Tim Burton to the Brothers Quay, stuffs Šilení with period anachronisms, ravishing tableaux, startling grotesquerie, black humor, blacker ideas, bravura set pieces and slithering, stop-motion slabs of meat that provide ironic counterpoint (and a shuddering punch line) to a human carousel that takes a very chilling turn indeed. As a surrealist, Švankmajer dreams of surrendering all power to the imagination; as a fatalist, he knows you can get fucked that way too.
A version of this review originally appeared in Willamette Week of Portland, Oregon
Video on YouTube
Movie Review: Split by Raymond Johnston - Prague.TV
The new film by M. Night Shyamalan tries too hard to be clever, again
Czech Lion (Český lev) nominations announced by Raymond Johnston - Prague.TV
The best of Czech filmmaking will be honored in March
National Films Archives to celebrate Miloš Forman by Raymond Johnston - Prague.TV (Foto: milosforman.com)
The director will turn 85 in February, and has made several notable films
Hajao Mijazaki animation coming to Bio Oko by Raymond Johnston - Prague.TV (Foto: Bio Oko FB)
Crowdfunding helped pay for the festival of Japanese animation
Movie Review: Live by Night by Raymond Johnston - Prague.TV
Gangster drama offers some new settings but lacks the killer instincts
Movie Review: Why Him? by Raymond Johnston - Prague.TV
A late Christmas comedy was not worth the wait
Short Films Festival arrives shortly by Raymond Johnston - Prague.TV (Foto: Trouble Every Day - Pragueshorts)
The 12th edition of the festival has new films plus award winners
Iranian film festival starting in Prague by Raymond Johnston - Prague.TV
A film that won two awards at Cannes starts sixth edition of festival
Movie Review: The Great Wall by Raymond Johnston - Prague.TV
Epic monster film set in the Song Dynasty delivers very colorful action
Movie Review: Paterson by Raymond Johnston - Prague.TV
Jim Jarmusch takes the audience to spend a week with a poetic bus driver
First Cobbler's Prague Bakery Cup Cake Shop @ PALLADIUM!
Prague City Tours in 23 languages!
Feel the rhythm and party to the biggest hits of the 80’s!
Don’t miss out on historical low Czech mortgage rates!
Prague river cruises – popular Prague tourist attractions
20 Years of true caring for the international community in...
VR entertainment and gaming center
Hostel in Prague 3, Zizkov