Goethe’s classic story, Christian Dietrich Grabbe’s novel and Marlowe’s Doctor Faustus combine in the phantasmagoric world of famed Czech animator Jań Švankmajer. In Švankmajer’s version, Faust is solicited by the devil’s assistants at a Prague subway exit. He agrees to sell his soul directly to Mephistopheles in exchange for 24 pleasure-filled years. The deal is done, but Faust gets more than he bargained for, as he is first turned into an actor and then into a puppet. This most unusual of adaptations is a highly inventive surrealist fantasy featuring surprising and imaginative clay animation combined with live-action and grotesque life-size marionettes. It is a modern myth, offering illusions within illusions that illustrate the ordinary corruption, miseries and vanities of the human soul.
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