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The Collected Shorts of Jan Svankmajer, Vol. 1 - The Early Years (2002)

Ivan Kraus , Juraj Herz , Jan Svankmajer  |  NR |  DVD
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Ivan Kraus, Juraj Herz, Václav Borovicka, Petr Cepek, Nad'a Munzarová
  • Directors: Jan Svankmajer
  • Writers: Jan Svankmajer, Edgar Allan Poe
  • Producers: A. Hans Puluj, Erna Kmínková, Jirí Vanek, Josef Soukup, Viktor Mayer
  • Format: Animated, Color, Full Screen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Unknown)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Image Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: June 10, 2003
  • Run Time: 86 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • ASIN: B000093NRA
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #410,397 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Collected Shorts of Jan Svankmajer, Vol. 1 - The Early Years" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Additional Svankmajer Artwork and Bio/Filmography
  • Production Stills

Editorial Reviews

For the past forty years, Jan Svankmajer (Alice, Little Otik) has been hailed as one of cinema's most consistently surprising, wildly imaginative and remarkable surrealists of our time. Utilizing a delirious combination of puppets, humans, stop-motion animation and live action, Svankmajer's films conjure up a dreamlike universe that is at once dark, macabre, witty and perversely visceral. This collection of remarkable short works pays tribute to an artist that has mesmerized audiences the world over, inspiring filmmakers from the Brothers Quay to Tim Burton and Terry Gilliam. Volume 1 includes: "The Fall of the House of Usher," "A Game with Stones," "Et cetera," "Punch and July," "The Flat," "Picnic with Weissmann," "A Quiet Week in the House."

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
48 of 50 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Indispensable but uneven -- and FAR from complete September 30, 2003
Jan Svankmajer's creepy, surreal films are unique. Though rarely gory in the usual sense, these movies have been known to disturb even the most jaded viewers, thanks largely to the disquieting use of stop-motion animation. These shorts make an excellent introduction -- or postlude -- to Svankmajer's dark feature films such as "Alice" and "Little Otik."
Svankmajer is at his best when focusing on nightmarish dream worlds: the malevolent apartment in "The Flat" or the subterranean horrors of "Down to the Cellar." When Svankmajer slips into political commentary, he becomes preachy and repetitive. "The Death of Stalinism in Bohemia" is already stale, and the dreadful "Et Cetera" is an exercise in aren't-we-clever monotony. Luckily, the lesser films don't detract from the remarkable experience of the greater ones.
One major drawback: although this pair of DVDs (sold separately) call themselves "The Collected Shorts," they are very far from complete. Favorites such as Jabberwocky and Darkness-Light-Darkness are nowhere to be found (though D-L-D is included on the DVD of "Alice"). Other works such as The Last Trick, Virile Games, The Ossuary, Leonardo's Diary, and J.S. Bach: Fantasia in G Minor have previously appeared on VHS in the US or UK, but are mysteriously absent from these DVDs. Several other missing shorts have never even had a VHS release: Historia naturae, The Garden, Don Juan, The Castle of Otranto, and Another Kind of Love. Given that these two DVDs are called "The Early Years" and "The Later Years," it does not appear that a third disc is planned -- though we can hope for "Vol. 3 - All the Other Films Not Previously Included."
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