Tuesday, 31 May 2011
For those unfamiliar with Švankmajer's work, may I refer you to this short film, and the following stills, all of which are considered completely normal in his world:
Švankmajer's trademark stop-motion animation and disconcerting editing technique (displayed amazingly in another BFI box set) are in full effect in his first feature length film after nearly 25 years of equally disturbing short films. With a cast of one human, several animals (live and stuffed) and one or two items of clothing, this version of the classic tale is much weirder than anything Tim Burton could ever have dreamt up for his cack-handed adaptation.
At its heart, Alice is a surrealist meditation on dreams that just happens to use Lewis Carroll's work as a starting point, but it's also a fine example of the kind of avant-garde cinema that you might only be exposed to on a Film Studies course. It's not perfect - the Mad Hatter / March Hare scene seems to repeat itself interminably - but it is enjoyable, eye-opening bonkersness, and it's exactly the kind of thing we should be cherishing the BFI for making available to us. Stick it on your DVD rental list and impress your friends. Unless you're Helena Bonham Carter.