The work of Jan Svankmajer is a collaboration of surrealistic imagery in the realms of magic and alchemy which induces a nightmarish spectre created from the usage of: claymation, stop-motion, drawn animation, puppet theatre, live action, cut-outs and montages. This incredible collection includes all of his shorts from 1964 - 1992 and it contains a glut of extras with a fresh examination on his unique blend of strangeness.
Some of these shorts are similar, in essence, to Peter Gabriel's Slegdehammer video; Svankmajer infuses a wide range of objects with a spirit that transcends them from the ordinary objects they are into incredible phantasms of mysterious intrigue. Others, incorporate the the painstaking process employed by Nick Park for his Wallace and Gromit escapades. His award winning short, Dimensions Of Dialogue, was placed in Terry Gilliam's top ten animations of all time. As well as Gilliam, Svankmajer has played a key role in influencing a host of filmmakers including the dark and twisted worlds created by Tim Burton in Vincent and Corpse Bride. If you enjoyed any of these animation styles there's a strong possibility you'll enjoy Svankmajer's work.
Some of the earliest shorts do have a minute crackling sound and show signs of staircasing artifacts but the rest of the prints display no signs of ware and have been superbly transferred; mainly in 4:3 fullscreen but a few have been anamorphically enhanced. Included is optional english subtitles for the dialogue that are easy to read and, more importantly, unobtrusive.
Svankmajer's plethora of dreamlike excursions embodies Plato's scholarly definition of rhetoric: "the art of enchanting the soul", and provides the perfect platform for an intense night of adulterating the mind with this reagent; if thats your ticket, of course! This collection is, metaphorically speaking, a visual analogy to a haunting drum that some viewers won't be able to hear; but, if this is your rhythm, the dark and often disturbing images will be a dancer.