fbpx

Short Films: Programme 2 (1970-1992)

In this second selection of avankmajer’s short films, the themes of food, violence and childhood are very much to the fore. In the banned Leonardo’s Diary/Leonarduv denik 72 (1972), images from Leonardo’s sketchbooksogrotesque faces, flying machines, images of anatomy and alchemyoare intercut with ‘real’ images of institutionalised aggression, while in Virile Games/Mužne hry (1988), avankmajer’s disturbing take on soccer fanaticism, he focuses on the primitive forces underlying competitive sport. In one of his best known and most distinctive films, Dimensions of Dialogue/Možne dialogu (1982), Arcimboldesque heads constructed from fruit and vegetables, kitchen utensils and stationery devour each other and clay heads are opposed as love turns to destruction and dialogue generates conflict in a kind of oral sado-masochism. Food/Jidlo (1992) continues these themes of opposition and of eating as the characters’ cannibalistic tendencies eventually extend to each other and their own body parts. In Jabberwocky/žvahlav aneb aaticky Slameneho Huberta (1971), a world of toys comes to life: as a penknife dances of its own accord, toy soldiers are flattened by a porcelain baby, and dolls are boiled in a miniature cooker. In Down to the Cellar/Do pivnice (1982), an obvious precursor of both Alice and Little Otik, a little girl goes to the cellar to fetch potatoes and confronts unnameable fearsoan old woman who bakes coal cakes, snapping shoes that fight over bread, a large cat and a potential child molester. The film represents avankmajer’s own childhood terror elaborated through a form of the Red Riding Hood story. In The Death of Stalinism in Bohemia/Konec stalinismu v Cechach (1990), his only explicitly political film, avankmajer’s reflections on power and manipulation take on their definitive form.
Total running time: 80 mins.

Screenings

Cinema Calendar