Irish Film Institute -SURVIVING LIFE




What happens if you meet the woman of your dreams actually in your dreams? That’s the poser in this latest seriocomic frolic from mad-genius Czech animator Jan Švankmajer. Ensuring that he returns to the same dream with the same alluring young woman night after night is but the first obstacle for middle-aged bureaucrat Evžen. The next question is how to deal with her abrasive husband and demanding young son – passion-killers both. And does he tell his wife that he has been cheating on her every night, if indeed this is cheating?

Using cut-out animation which overlays photographed live performances with all manner of surreal interventions (agreeably reminiscent of Terry Gilliam’s inserts for the original Monty Python series), the result is Švankmajer’s most accessible offering to date, deftly combining unpredictable visual invention with an underlying astute analysis of the meanings behind our desires. A splendid running gag involving Freud and Jung typifies the film’s distinctive appeal: loopy yet ineffably urbane. (Notes by Trevor Johnston.)

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