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Jon Vickers
IU Cinema

Last modified: Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Fantastical world of Czech filmmaker featured in IU Cinema series

Aug. 15, 2012

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- The work of Czech filmmaker Jan Švankmajer will be on display during the IU Cinema's "Impossibility Made Real" film series starting Aug. 20.

Conspirators of Pleasure

"Conspirators of Pleasure" will screen at 9:30 p.m. Aug. 30 at IU Cinema.

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A self-labeled surrealist, Švankmajer is known for his distinctive use of stop-motion technique and his ability to create fantastic, terrifying and funny films. He's influenced filmmakers from Tim Burton to the Brothers Quay, while some of his newer work has moved away from his animation roots.

The IU Cinema series will feature seven Švankmajer films that are part of a nationally touring program, all of which are in Czech with English subtitles.

"Viewers who have never seen a Švankmajer film are in for a real treat," IU Cinema Director Jon Vickers said. "For more than 50 years, his dark, surreal aesthetic has delighted -- and shocked -- audiences as he gives inanimate objects life and purpose."

Films and screening dates are:

  • 7 p.m. Aug. 20, "Surviving Life." Evžen has fallen in love with his dreams, and would prefer to live within that world. But can he return at will? (Second screening: 6:30 p.m. Aug. 26.)
  • 3 p.m. Aug. 26, "Alice." Lewis Carroll's familiar heroine experiences Wonderland in an entirely new way through dark stop-motion animation.
  • 6:30 p.m. Aug. 30, "Little Otik." Based on a Czech folk tale, a wooden child comes to life and threatens to consume everything and everyone around it.
  • 9:30 p.m. Aug. 30, "Conspirators of Pleasure." An erotic story that Švankmajer has declared is "a film about freedom."
  • 6:30 p.m. Aug. 31, "Shorts Program." Includes "The Flat," "Jabberwocky," "Meat Love" and others.
  • 9:30 p.m. Aug. 31, "Lunacy." A horror film that investigates the slide into madness and the modern mental institution.
  • 6:30 p.m. Sept. 8, "Faust." This adaptation of the tale, set in modern Prague, features a wooden marionette and other absurdities.

The film retrospective is sponsored by the College Arts and Humanities Institute, Russian and East European Institute, Department of Communication and Culture and IU Cinema, and it was organized in collaboration with independent film programmer Irena Kovarova and the Czech Center New York.

Tickets for the series are free for students and $3 for the general public. Tickets can be obtained at the IU Auditorium Box Office from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, or 30 minutes before each screening at the cinema. Tickets can also be obtained online here.

IU Cinema is a world-class facility and program dedicated to the scholarly study and highest standards of exhibition of film in its traditional and modern forms. For more information on the facility or programs, call 812-856-2503 or visit