Category Archives: Czech Republic

#233 Alice

(1988, Jan Svankmajer)
Něco z Alenky

“Now you will see a film made for children…perhaps”

Alice In Wonderland is a truly iconic children’s story, and I personally have a fondness for it, as I’m sure many others do. But despite its fame as a children’s story, it can easily be read as a horrific nightmare drug trip without changing a single word in it. And this dichotomy of Lewis Carroll’s classic certainly wasn’t lost on Jan Svankmajer when he made Alice.

You should already know the story of Alice In Wonderland, but for those who don’t, welcome to Earth, intergalactic visitors. It’s about a girl named Alice who goes to a place called Wonderland, oddly enough.

She gets there when a White Rabbit in a jacket rushing past her complaining about being late while examining a pocket watch. In traditional versions, Alice follows the rabbit down a rabbit hole and lands in Wonderland, where she experiences a series of adventures, but in Svankmajer’s version, Alice (Kristýna Kohoutová) follows the rabbit into a stationery drawer. And that’s not the only way it differs.

Where other versions of Alice placed a young girl in a dazzlingly colourful environment with gumdrop trees and sprawling gardens, Svankmajer’s Alice places her in a dilapidated mansion filled with creaky antiques that come to life and do weird things. Also, where other adaptations take the “wonder” part of the title as their entire design document and make everything all charming and happy, Svankmajer seemingly decided to use Carroll’s possible opium trip as the basis for his version.

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#159 The Fireman’s Ball

Hoří, má panenko

(1967, Milos Forman)

Czech director Milos Forman is best known for directing One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest, but long before he worked on that, he worked in his native land making simple comedy movies. And today, we’re looking at The Fireman’s Ball, one of those very same comedy movies.

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