Jan Švankmajer

1:12 AM ♥missjae 0 Comments

Jan Švankmajer is a Czech animator who does Surrealism based animation and is most known for his famous featured stop motion shorts, "Dimensions of Dialogue". Švankmajer made many animations pertaining to an alternative viewpoint to everyday situations, forcing viewers to go deeper beyond the surface.

In the above shorts, "Dimensions of Dialogue", he carefully chose his theme of human conversation and used objects to represent each of his viewpoints of a "dialogue". 

In the first part of this feature, "Exhaustive Discussion/Eternal Discussion", Švankmajer started out with 3 different heads, each made out of different materials, food items, metal based items and lastly, stationery items. Each of these heads meet each other and "devoured" each other, destructing and vomiting after each destruction has been made. Towards the end, each of the mashed up heads formed a clay head, and while they repeat the cycle of devouring and vomiting, the heads vomit clones of the same head. It represents how people influence each other in opinions and gradually reducing each unique opinion to something bland and similar. This could be linked to the society at that point in Czech, where communism was taking over the state.

In the 2nd part of this feature, titled, "Passionate Discourse", features 2 clay figures at a table, presumably a male and a female. This part of the animation takes on the journey of how love/hate works between a couple, passionate in a positive manner to the end stages when love turns sour. A mini blob, presumably bearing the burdens and commitments of a relationship appears. None of the figure wanted to take ownership of it and in turn caused an argument turned ugly. A smart usage of clay work to show the coming together and tearing apart of the relationship. This could be linked to any other relationships as well, in my opinion. Disturbing, yet beautiful.

Last part features 2 heads. "Factual Conversation" shows how 2 people trying to offer items to each other that might help. However, as the short film progresses, and as the speed quickens, each of these heads started offering items that do not match up with the requirement in haste. Subsequently, each of them started to offer the same items to each other to solve the issue, which of course, didn't resolve anything but ended up in a wreck for both. Throughout the entire plot, the 2 heads gave each other glares as a form of non-verbal analysis of each other's requirements. This shorts symbolises the misunderstandings occurring due to non-verbal assumptions. Very aptly represented through the facial expressions of the heads and the interactions with the items each head offers.

Something I like about Švankmajer's work is that he takes on normal everyday objects, tangible and intangible to create animations that touches the hearts of people in a rather disturbing way. He makes it a point to prick the hearts of the people about situations that were happening around and about them, forcing them to go beyond what they see and feel on the surface. This analysis process that his audience go through while watching his film. Also, in addition to his careful plannings in plot and process, I love the intricate details of each of the clay figures as well as the faces that are created with everyday tangible items. Can't help but be marveled by his ingenious portrayal of his themes through such meticulous plannings and filming process.