One of the world’s most acclaimed surrealist filmmakers Jan Švankmajer turned 85 on Wednesday. His signature surreal style, which relies on stop-motion animations and exaggerated sounds, has not only created many world renowned films in the genre, but also influenced other major artists such as Terry Gilliam and Jose Garcia Moreno.
Mexican animator José García Moreno studied at Prague’s famous film school FAMU and apprenticed at the animation studio Bratři v triku in the last years of communist Czechoslovakia. There, he made his fist short film, and developed what would prove to be a life-long love for Czech auteurs, especially the surrealist Jan Švankmajer. Now a professor in Los Angeles, he spoke to Radio Prague about the differences between American and central European animation, Czech and Mexican humour, and the need for tactility and relation to the animated object through
Michael Havas grew up in New Zealand but came to communist Czechoslovakia – the country his parents had escaped from – to study film. He has made over 50 documentaries in a career that has seen him work with director Jan Švankmajer and many more noteworthy figures. Indeed, I first came across him in connection with a letter protesting Brexit that he wrote to the UK prime minister and circulated to friends, including Terry Gilliam and Michael Palin of Monty Python and musician Peter Gabriel. But when we met I first asked Michael Havas about his family
The Art in Box gallery in downtown Prague primarily focuses on photography. In over five years of existence, it has put on exhibitions by the great exile photographer Jan Lukas, filmmaking legend Jan Švankmajer and scores of other noteworthy names. The small gallery is run by the Slovak-born curator, artist and journalist Nadia Rovderová. When we met recently at Art in Box, I asked Rovderová what had first brought her to the Czech capital.
For years I have been going swimming in the pool at Hotel AXA, a to my mind rather bland functionalist building from 1932 that is currently undergoing major renovation. It is located more or less opposite the department store Bílá Labuť, which is of similar vintage and style, on Prague’s busy Na Poříčí street.
Something is in the air in Prague’s Old Town Hall: An exhibition titled “Other Air” gives the public a chance to see both a retrospective of Czech and Slovak surrealist art from the last two decades, as well as surrealist works from renowned international artists. In addition, the exhibition features a rich accompanying program with surrealist films and readings and a bilingual catalogue with surrealists texts. The ambitious project kicked off in February and will be running in the Czech capital until April. We spoke to artist and member of the
It is only every five years or so that the renowned Czech animator Jan Švankmajer brings out a new film, and the wait is now over. “Surviving Life” draws on many of Švankmajer’s traditional themes and styles while exploring them through an experimental medium, once again confirming why he is the most acclaimed Czech art house director at home and abroad.
The Czech surrealist film director, Jan Švankmajer, started working on his new movie, Insect. The film will have comedy features, and should be finished by 2015, the film’s producer, Jaromír Kalista, told the Czech news agency ČTK on Sunday. Jan Švankmajer’s new film will be based on his own short story from 1971, and will also incorporate parts of the 1922 play, Pictures from the Insects’ Life, by the brothers Karel and Josef Čapek. Mr Švankmajer and his team are now looking for producers; the film’s budget should not exceed 40 million crowns, or less than 2.5 million US dollars.
Czech animator Jan Švankmajer has received the award for his lifetime contribution to cinematography at the 5th European Film Festival in Segovia, Spain. The prize comes two weeks after Mr Švankmajer took the award for excellence in world cinematography at the international festival in Bratislava. The Spanish festival also included a retrospective of the director’s films, including his newest work Surviving Life, which premiered in the Czech Republic this month..