In this early stop-motion film by Czech surrealist Jan Svankmajer, a device consisting of a clock, a pendulum, a faucet and a bucket enacts a series of events whenever the clock chimes. Large stones are squeezed out of the faucet like eggs, falling into a bucket. A music box starts up, and the stones undergo a series of animated transformations which end when the bucket tips them onto the floor. The ‘behaviour’ of the stones seems like a simulation of organic processes: stone cells divide, skeletons and human faces are formed and are dismantled or consume each other until eventually the bottom falls out of the bucket. –keyframeonline.com
Jan Švankmajer (born 4 September 1934 in Prague) is a Czech surrealist artist. His work spans several media. He is known for his surreal animations and features, which have greatly influenced other artists such as Tim Burton, Terry Gilliam, The Brothers Quay and many others. Švankmajer has gained a reputation over several decades for his distinctive use of stop-motion technique, and his ability to make surreal, nightmarish and yet somehow funny pictures. He is still making films in Prague. Švankmajer’s trademarks include very exaggerated sounds, often creating a very strange effect in all eating scenes. He often uses very sped-up sequences when people walk and interact. His movies often involve inanimate objects coming alive and being brought to life through stop-motion. Food is a favorite subject and medium. Stop-motion features in most of his work, though his feature films also include live action to varying degrees.
A lot of his movies, like the short film Down to the Cellar… read more
One of the best aspects about the stop motion animation stylizations of guys like Svankmajer and the Quay brothers are how everyday materials become literally animated into living things. One can animate with anything, and here he uses stones as if it were putty, playing with them like a God can shape water. The best part is when the stones become stand-ins for bones.