For my FMP i have looked at Jan Svankmajer’s “Alice” created in 1988, he is a Czech artist and filmmaker and a self labelled surrealist. His animations have influenced the Brothers Quay and many others, i can definitely see from “Alice” that is dark surrealist style and jerky movements have influenced “Street of Crocodiles” by the Brothers Quay. Jan’s version of Alice in Wonderland is darker than the versions by Disney and Tim Burton, and Tim Burton is known for his surrealist and obscure creations.  Upon watching this film i was struck by the stunning combination of animated found object and a real life child as Alice, and this contrast i had not considered previously but now i can see how charming it is to mix the real and the surreal to create an entirely new world. This film is based around the original Lewis Carroll Novel, and like the novel the film the plays with the juxtaposition of roles of inanimate objects, such as cards and stuffed animals. The atmosphere created by the use of unsaturated and washed out colours gives an eerie atmosphere to the scenes, which is not something i wish to achieve in my own work as my audience is 5-9 year old girls but you cannot deny that Jan’s version is enchanting in a different way. Jan’s work is mechanical, much like the Quay brothers and the movements are jerky and awkward and its this that adds to the surrealist nature described in the novel. Whilst Jan magnifies the surreal and disturbing elements of Alice in Wonderland, he does not utilize much of the original dialogue or Alice’s thoughts/ feelings. Whilst Carrolls version depicts Alice’s journey in a warped surreal version of England, Jan’s appears to occupy no particular time or place, more like Alice’s subconscious especially with the use of toys. I especially love the transition Alice makes from child to doll when she shrinks, its crazy how much can be done with so little technology!

gif alice alice-jan-svankmajer alice2 alice_jan_svankmajer

Overall i have found this film eerily enchanting, and whilst creepy is not the atmosphere i aim for in my illustrations its enchantment i still want to create for the viewer, but with less of the jerky award movement and uncomfortable atmospheres. But i have enjoyed watching the film, and will take inspiration from Jan’s use of interesting found objects.

below are some stills from the film:


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