Approx. 97 min. | In Czech, with English subtitles
(1994) Czech animator-extraordinaire Jan Svankmajer reinterprets the Faustian legend using puppets, clay, and various other kinds of 3-dimenstional animation in his acclaimed follow-up to ALICE, his celebrated 1988 adaptation of Lewis Carroll. The filmmaker’s dark vision begins on the streets of Prague as an ordinary commuter seals his fate by accepting a handbill as he exits the subway. Svankmajer draws upon texts by Goethe, Marlow, and Grabbe, as well as popular folk interpretations. Huge marionettes, evil chickens, a flaming, riderless cart, and a clay fetus grown in a test tube that retains its baby body while its head ages… all figure into Svankmajer’s latest pact with the devil.
A KIMSTIM RELEASE
“A FILM WHICH GALVANIZES THE MIND AND ASTONISHES THE EYE. IN A WORD, MAGIC.
The director grafts a wealth of themes, motifs, allusions and gags, his method an expertly executed, profoundly imaginative combination of live action, claymation, puppet theatre, stop-motion animation and special effects.”
– Time Out
“COMPLETELY MAD AND NOT TO BE MISSED.
The surreal imagery and weird human/puppet interchanges make for some astonishing cinema. The experience feels very much like stepping into a very believable but totally absurd parallel universe, where some of the more unsavoury aspects of humankind are laid bare.”
“With its blend of live action, chattering marionettes, and weird, fleshy stop-motion sequences—not to mention the pitch-black of the humor—it throws you off balance more thoroughly than any other movie in town.”
– The New Yorker
“The devil summoned by Faust’s magic wand produces such genuine terror that, even though Faust is only a puppet, we rush, like the protagonist, to escape from his grasp.”
– The Guardian