Combustible Celluloid
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With: Frantisek Filipovský, Václav Borovicka, Ivan Kraus, Juraj Herz, Nad'a Munzarová, Jirí Procházka, Bohuslav Srámek, Jirí Hálek, Ludek Kopriva, Míla Myslíková, Ludvík Sváb, Bedrich Glaser, Jan Kraus, Pavel Marek, Josef Fiala, Karel Hamr
Written by: Jan Svankmajer
Directed by: Jan Svankmajer
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Language: Czech with English subtitles
Running Time: 152
Date: 03/19/2013

The Collected Shorts of Jan Svankmajer (2003)

3 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Meat and Greet

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Two excellent discs have recently been released showcasing The Collected Shorts of Jan Svankmajer (1966-92, Image, $29.95). Volume One focuses on "The Early Years" with some of Svankmajer's more lofty experiments, looking at the creation and destruction of the earth in A Game of Stones or the evolution of man in Et Cetera. All of the work is beautiful and often features groundbreaking techniques. But the second disc contains some of Svankmajer's more humorous work and delves deeper into his obsession with food, especially the mini-masterworks Dimensions of Dialogue (1982), and the aptly-titled Food -- both consisting of three parts. The first begins with three faces made up of vegetables, kitchen utensils and writing implements. The faces swallow, chew up, and spit one another out until all three faces resemble smoother, human faces. Food is pure weirdness, taking us through some very odd eating habits during breakfast, lunch and dinner. This disc also contains two very short MTV interludes, Meat Love and Flora.

DVD Details: In 2006, Kino Video's KimStim wing followed up and released the remainging Jan Svankmajer shorts in a collection called The Ossuary and Other Tales. Additionally,they released a collection from Svankmajer's contemporary Jiri Barta, Labyrinth of Darkness,including the 55-minute The Pied Piper of Hamelin (1985).

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