Collected Shorts of Jan Svankmajer
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Top Customer Reviews
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 (formerly 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.
I only give it three stars because (1) Kino could've fit a lot more content on these discs, and (2) the packaging was slapped together haphazardly; for ex the sequence of the titles on the case don't match the actual sequence inside, and the listed running times are often wayyyy off. Overall, tremendously rewarding content but due only to Svankmajer himself, not to the DVD producers.
Each and every short I saw were masterpieces but there are few that stand out. "Moznosti dialogu" (1982) aka "Dimensions of Dialogue" (or it could be translated as "Possibilities of Dialogue") is one of my very favorite Svankmajer's short films. It consists of three parts, "Eternal Dialog", "Passionate Dialog", and "Exhausting Dialog". When I watched it, I was thinking about Tennessee Williams' words, "All of us are locked in our loneliness like in the cage". Complete loneliness, inability to communicate, impossibility of dialog and understanding - this is quite a dark opinion of the humanity but how masterfully and wickedly funny it was presented. How incredibly unique and marvelous Svankmajer's vision is. Among many spectacular images, the clay lovemaking scene in the "Passionate Dialog" was perhaps one of the most sensual I've ever seen in the movies. As any genuine work of Art, Svankmajer's little gem fascinates a viewer on many levels.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Gave this as a gift and got rave reviews. Apparently, it is rare to find this directors work consolidated as it is here.Published 2 months ago by Northwestcrow
These shorts are very imaginative and stimulative. I found them fascinating, appearing real to my mind at a certain, lower level. Read morePublished 10 months ago by rbrogan3
this is a great dvd for any jan svankmajer lover. its a great collection of different shorts of his. all of which are amazing.Published 17 months ago by mgrubbe85
one star only because it cant be rated lower. its a swell party if your cup of gin is pavlovian as opposed to visceral or intellectual. Read morePublished on January 15, 2014 by ERIC MUNSON
The actual content I would give 4 stars, however, I found the video quality of this edition to be very poor. Read morePublished on March 8, 2012 by Michael J. Kelley
Jan Svankmajer is certainly an attractive man... not that I roll that way mind you... I'm just sayin. Read morePublished on September 27, 2011 by Timboliah PantsOnFiyah