Irish Film Institute -Alice (Something from Alice)

Alice (Something from Alice)

Inspired by Lewis Carroll, avankmajer’s first feature marks a progression from the fairy-tale inspirations of Jabberwocky and Down to the Cellar. Alice’s constant changes in size are portrayed as a transformation from human to dolloa puppet version of the real in which the eyes do not move and all movements are highly stylised. The principal puppet figures she encountersothe White Rabbit, the March Hare and the Mad Hatterohave the appearance of old toys. The White Rabbit’s stuffing repeatedly falls out and has to be secured with a safety pin; the March Hare’s eye has to be pulled back into place, and he has to be wound up. The Mad Hatter, made of beaten wood, partakes of the Surrealist sense of the ‘magically old’. In avankmajer’s version, the central narrative has been strengthened with the character of the White Rabbit consistently opposed to that of Alice. While he appears strange, he is also a personal threat and, armed with his pair of scissors at the end of the film, appears as an actual executioner. Angela Carter once described this tribute by one master of ‘invasive dreaming’ to another as ‘grotesque, funny, insidious, beautiful, a wonder itself’.
Switzerland-West Germany-U.K., 1987. Colour. English dialogue. 84 mins.

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