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- Year: 2006
- Film Format: 35mm
- Origin: Czech Republic / Slovakia
- Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1
- Runtime: 118 mins
- Sound Format: Dolby Digital
- Language: Czech
- Subtitles: English
This provocative film from surrealist master Jan Svankmajer (LITTLE OTIK) is loosely based on two short stories by Edgar Allan Poe and inspired by the works of the Marquis de Sade. In nineteenth-century France (albeit one full of deliberate anachronisms) a young man, Jean Berlot, is plagued by nightmares in which he is dragged off to a madhouse. On the journey back from his mother’s funeral he is invited by a Marquis he meets at lunch to spend the night in his castle. There Berlot witnesses a blasphemous orgy and a ‘therapeutic’ funeral. Berlot tries to flee but the Marquis insists on helping him conquer his fears and takes his guest to a surrealistic lunatic asylum where the patients have complete freedom and the staff are locked up behind bars. Described by Svankmajer himself in a prologue to the film as a ’philosophical horror film,” LUNACY combines live action and stop-motion, sex and violence, grand guignol terror and gallows humor, and a lot of animated meat.
One of the great Czech filmmakers, Jan Svankmajer was born in 1934 in Prague where he still lives. He trained at the Institute of Applied Arts from 1950 to 1954 and then at the Prague Academy of Performing Arts (Department of Puppetry). He soon became involved in the Theatre of Masks and the famous Black Theatre, before entering the Laterna Magika Puppet Theatre where he first encountered film. In 1970 he met his wife, the surrealist painter Eva Svankmajerova, and the late Vratislav Effenberger, the leading theoretician of the Czech Surrealist Group, which Svankmajer joined and of which he still remains a member.
Svankmajer made his first film in 1964 and for over thirty years has made some of the most memorable and unique animated films ever made, gaining a reputation as one of the world’s foremost animators, and influencing filmmakers from Tim Burton to The Brothers Quay. His brilliant use of claymation reached its apotheosis with the stunning 1982 film DIMENSIONS OF DIALOGUE. In 1987 Svankmajer completed his first feature film, ALICE, a characteristically witty and subversive adaptation of Alice in Wonderland, and with the ensuing feature films FAUST, CONSPIRATORS OF PLEASURE, LITTLE OTIK (OTESÁNEK) and LUNACY, Svankmajer has moved further away from his roots in animation towards live-action filmmaking, though his vision remains as strikingly surreal and uncannily inventive as ever.
Jean Berlot Pavel Liska
The Marquis Jan Tríska
Charlota Anna Geislerová
Dr. Coulmiere Martin Huba
Dr. Murlloppe Jaroslav Dusek
Dominik Pavel Novy
Screenplay and Direction Jan Svankmajer
Artistic Direction Eva Svankmajerová, Jan Svankmajer
Director of Photography Juraj Galvánek
Sound Ivo Spalj
Film Editing Marie Zemanová
Costume Designer Veronika Hrubá, Eva Svankmajerová
Animation Martin Kublák, Bedrich Glaser
Producer Jaromír Kallista
Co-Producer, Barrandov Studios Helena Uldrichová
Co-Producers, Czech Television Jaroslav Kucera, Jirí Kostyr
Co-Producer, C–GA Film Juraj Galvánek
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