Conspirators of Pleasure

The Films of Jan Svankmajer

February 17–25, 2012

“I don’t like the cartoon,” said the Czech animator Jan Svankmajer, “and I prefer to place my imaginary world into reality.” While Svankmajer’s films are dreamlike in tone, seemingly coming directly from his deepest imagination, they are also rooted in physical reality. Svankmajer (b. 1934) photographs household objects, including trash, food, furniture, and clocks, and often uses puppets as his main characters. His films are delightfully subversive, perhaps as a response to the oppressive nature of life in Czechoslovakia before the fall of the Iron Curtain. This selection of Svankmajer’s features and short films is presented with support from the Czech Center New York.