Dark Alchemy: The Films of Jan Švankmajer

  • Jan Uhde


The ARCIMBOLDO OF ANIMATION Peter Hames' Dark Alchemy is the first book publication on the Czech master animator Jan Švankmajer. This may sound surprising, since Svankmajer, a pre-eminent Czech artist has produced twenty-six shorts and two features over the last three decades and is the recipient of numerous international festival prizes and awards. Despite the critical acclaim, his achievements have remained in partial obscurity. There may be more than one reason for this peculiarity: most of Švankmajer's artistic career has coincided with the totalitarian rule in the former Czechoslovakia. The Communist regime was not at all interested in encouraging or promoting an artist whose work represented an opposing view to the government's cultural ideology and practice, and was thus barely tolerated by the authorities....
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